"As I have practiced it, photography produces pleasures by simplicity. I see something special and show it to the camera. A picture is produced. The moment is held until someone sees it. Then it is theirs."
On Thursday of last week, I grabbed my camera and took a ride into San Francisco, to visit the neighborhood of Haight/Ashbury. During the late 1960's and early 1970's the Haight was the place to go if one wanted to become upclose and personal with the counter-culture movement. Flower children handing out free flowers, and preaching, "love not war," could be found all along the neighborhood. The Grateful Dead lived at 710 Ashbury street in an old Victorian which is just a half a block up from the famous corner. It still stands there today, and as I passed by it the other day, I could almost imagine the ghost of Jerry Garcia standing in the window of the top floor, looking down with approval, and amusement at how the street has evolved over the years, yet still retained it's unique free spirit. One can find organic grocery stores, T-shirt shops, record shops, flower stands, and believe it or not, at the corner of Haight/Ashbury is a Ben & Jerry's ice-cream shop, facing right up the street toward Jerry Garcia's house, as if it were facing Mecca.
If you are a photography enthusiast such as myself, the Haight is the place to come on a warm, late spring day, like last Thursday, camera in hand. What would inspire you the most might be the intense color everywhere, from the clothing in the store windows, to the clothing on the people you will encounter. This is not a black and white world. It is intense and alive, and the neighborhood energy wore off quickly onto me as I just experienced it with an open mind. What some might call weird, I called creative. Like in the above photo. How often do you find a pair of 8ft legs, stylishly attired in fishnet stockings, making a getaway from the upper floor of a Victorian house...in the middle of the day no less! LOL. And this was just one example of the perfect shots that were available all around me. I will be sharing more of them over the next week or so.
I chose this image first, to remind folks about the whimsy of photography...and the world. But whimsy is only one way to look at things. One of the reasons I enjoy co-hosting the Round Robin Photo Challenges with Karen, is the wide variety of creativity and interpretations I see from the each of the members who participate in any given challenge. The very last one we did, "Reflections," had our biggest turn-out yet, and also one of the best examples of the range of interpretations as well. So say for example, our subject had been, "How Your Camera Views The World," perhaps some would have viewed my photo of the 8ft long legs, protruding from the window above me, as crass or insulting to women. And that is great, because visual art is supposed to inspire emotion, thought, and feeling in the observer.
We at the Round Robin Challenges, have recently passed a bit of a milestone. We are now over a year old, and we have recently welcomed our newest member, which makes us at 50 friends all sharing our view of the world through our cameras. Taking pictures is not just my passion, it's my bliss. It makes me feel free, and alive. It helps me focus outside myself, and away from whatever might be hurting me. I have a dear friend who says I take my best photographs when I am hurting the most. I don't know about that, but what I do know is that art, and the pursuit of the beauty in the world does make me want to see everyday, with a kind of hunger that is difficult to explain.
I can visit the Golden Gate Bridge everyday of my life, and never quite see it the same way, but I am always amazed by it, and I always wish to be near it, just after I walk away. There is just something about the way it looks, as the fog is rolling through it, that makes me feel as if I am finally at home. I would be lost if I couldn't capture a photo of it, to remember, and maybe share with others it's beauty, and spirit. My friend Duane, author of the journal, "sotto voce USA," reminded me that today, is the anniversary of the opening of the Golden Gate Bridge, that makes it is a special day indeed. Perhaps I will take the camera, a picnic lunch, and drive to the Marin Headlands, to sit, and enjoy it's birthday. Like at any birthday party...the camera should always be there to capture the joy of another year in the life.
"Worth A 1,000 Words"
San Francisco, California
May 25, 2006
My 2017 Reading List
9 months ago