The Ones I Come Back To
I imagine it is the same with many of us. Photographers, that is. I make a photograph. I look at it. I may just skim through the frames, looking for “The One”. I don’t find it. I move on.
Time passes, I look at it again. It strikes me. “Can it be the same photograph I saw before? How? Why didn’t I see it? By what criteria am I judging this time. By what did I judge six months ago?”
It is baffling. I am, often times, not a good judge of my own work. I am too attached to it. Many of us are too attached to our own work, I think. But there’s a conundrum in my psyche. On the one hand, it may be insecurity that tells me that my stuff sucks. On the other hand, it’s as though like my work is a part of me, no less than an eye or a limb.
Another conundrum lies in that I have spoken of attachment on this blog before; about how necessary it is to undertake the task of purging it. Certainly, a near-impossible task except for the most holy of people. For the rest of us, the process of incremental advancement on that path will have to suffice.
Here is a photograph of a little boy who had his face painted as a tiger at a sort of a block party the night before, in a little village in Greece last summer. His demeanor as I was photographing him was one of total connection, of “OK, here I am. I am yours. Make my photograph. Make a hundred . . . make a thousand.” But he never said a word. Silence. It was almost spiritual.
Until he said: “How many pictures are you gonna take?”
Then we were done.