So often when I travel, I spend so much of my time looking through the viewfinder of my camera. I just recently, in the past few months, went digital and I still like to use the viewfinder instead of the screen when framing my shots. I take a lot of close-ups. There are a disproportionate number of pictures of plants in my photos. I have close-cropped flowers by the dozens and shot after shot of interesting leaves. Another favorite subject of mine is the architectural element shot. I took a whole roll (remember rolls of film?) of door knockers when I was in Florence, Italy earlier this year. They were taken in black and white. I framed them in one of those picture frames that has multiple openings to share several photos. It hangs in my kitchen and almost everyone who comes into my home comments on the picture. I’m also fond of hay rolls. I love seeing them at this time of year, at different times of day. There is something about the arrangement of these modern day haystacks randomly spaced across the autumnal fields that speaks to me. Is it any coincidence that Auguste Renoir shares the spot of my favorite painter with Claude Monet? I plan a study of hay rolls at different times of the day and different seasons in my head every time I travel back and forth to Gainesville for college football games. Someday I might actually take the pictures I see in my head.
What is not as represented in my photos is people. I am not as good at capturing the people in my life on film. There is something about the human spirit that defies collection. Even the manner of speaking about recording a subject with one’s camera speaks of taking something away. We “take” a picture. We “capture” a scene. We “snag” a photo. We “steal” a shot. We “catch” something on film. No wonder some cultures fear the keeping of their souls when someone wants to render their portrait with a camera. My problem with taking pictures of the people I love is trying to portray their meaning to me through their facial expressions and postures. I can record how they look, but I want to be able to photograph what they mean to me. It’s a tall order, but I’m working on it.
It’s Thanksgiving this week. That means family time, and for us, travel. I’m taking along my new camera. I know there will be pictures from the Civil War battlefields that we plan to visit on the way to our daughter and her husband’s home and back. I’m sure there will be photos of the beautiful turkey and its side dishes. There will definitely be photos of our nation’s capital. I just hope I can convey even just a hint of the importance of the people with whom I will be spending my time, in the pictures I take of them.