"The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera." - Dorothea Lange

Saturday, January 13, 2007

water (and this is weird)

Those of you who know my work know that I have a fascination - photographic at least - with water. I talk about memories of being in water as a child in the essay I wrote for Convergence. I love to photograph things, people in water, water itself. I've not given much thought to why, what it means, or anything. I just know I love the way water transforms - the ways things connected to water seem open and endless and always changing.

That brings me to the first weird part of this post. Soon after my mother died, I took a little retreat to a spa in Sedona - one of those places where you can get real new agey if you want - to spend a few days immersed in bodywork, memorywork, crystals, aromatherapy, hiking, meditation, etc. The long and short of it is this: I found a place to store my mother's memory, a place I can get to easily - and it is a visual of a river. In fact, the two of us are in this river together. Seems strange, I know. But it is comforting to feel connected to her in this way whenever I want to conjure up the picture in my mind.

Okay, now it gets even weirder.

Now and then I do trades with people for portraits. I recently made a portrait of Daniel (a young man who works with Eddie and who is also an illustrator) and his family in exchange for a drawing he promised to make for me. He said he'd like to work from a photo, so I gave him one of my favorites old photos - a wonderful picture of my mom and me, standing on a sidewalk beneath an archway of trees while on vacation in Williamsburg. My mom looks Jackie Kennedy gorgeous and is very stylish. I am probably seven or so, looking a little disheveled, my camera hanging around my neck and my saddle shoes slightly scuffed.

Daniel doesn't know me or my work. He doesn't know anything about me, really, certainly nothing about my experience in Sedona. But he took the liberty of changing one thing in his drawing.

I don't know why he did this, but he changed the sidewalk to a river. My mother and I are standing in a river.

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