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What am I not photographing?

"It takes the passage of time before the image of a commonplace subject can be assessed. The great difficulty of what I attempt is seeing beyond the moment. The everydayness of life gets in the way of the eternal." (George Tice)

Ansel Adams (and many others) photograph the grand landscape. Mitch Dobrowner (and very few others) photograph thunderstorms. Gorge Tice photographs the ordinary -- and so do I. On a hot summer day my wife and I dropped in to Fernando's in Tieton Washington for lunch. It wasn't busy so after we placed our order the server went back to watching the news on television. I asked her if I could take her photograph and she agreed, saying "What should I do?" I suggested that she relax and go back to the TV.

This photograph was a slam-dunk -- a pretty girl with a lovely complexion and enough context to place her in an informal restaurant. Ordinary indeed.

But the quotation by George Tice above bothers me a lot. Why should I go to Tieton Washington or even into Seattle to see the ordinary? What am I not photographing when I go for a walk in my neighborhood? What am I not photographing when I go pick up a take-and-bake pizza? If George Tice can find photographs in Patterson, New Jersey what keeps me from finding photographs in Burien, Washington? Do cameras just bounce off of some locations? One of Ted Orland's tongue-in-cheek "Photographic Truths" is that "A good photograph cannot be made in Fresno." Or is it that I am just not "seeing beyond the moment." I suspect the latter.


The display of my photographs at the Highline Heritage Museum will still be there when the museum reopens and through the fall. The PDF catalog of the show is still linked on the entry page of my website but I'm glad that it will be held over so somebody besides me can see the physical display. I hung it on a Tuesday and the following day the museum was closed in response to the corona virus. The curator, the museum handyman and I are the only people who have seen it.

Speaking of delays -- I was scheduled to show work from my "On Reading" project at the Edmonds Library gallery in October during their annual writer's week conference. The conference was cancelled for this year so my show will be there in October 2021.






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