Saturday, July 23, 2011

Seeing Summer

Wow. Two sunny days in a row -- and today was actually warm!  I couldn't bear to sit in front of my computer when summer appeared to have finally arrived (better late than never), so my friend Linda and I took the day off and went to Port Townsend.

I showed her some of my favorite stopping off points along the way, including Mats Mats and its public boat launch, and the Ajax Cafe in Port Hadlock (sadly not open for lunch) and the nearby dock, where an eagle obligingly circled low around us to land on a telephone pole.

It was a wonderful, peaceful, relaxing time with great junk food (waterfront pizza and gelato) and wonderful opportunities for photography (and some pretty fun shopping, too).  There was some great conversation (I've just given her a copy of Ordinary Magic), and, in honor of the piece in there that I read before leaving this morning (by Frederick Franck, author of The Zen of Seeing) we spent a lot of time ... well, just SEEing: really drinking in the beauties of the day -- unusual boats and cars and people; deer sleeping beside a busy highway, a perfectly camouflaged dog sleeping under a tree on a crowded sidewalk, a ferry crossing the water in the shadow of Mount Rainier...

I hope you had a chance to really look at something today, to really see the shape and wonder of it  -- that can be an amazing gift, both to the seer and to that which is seen.  Yes, the camera helps me see.  But sometimes it's good to look without the camera in my hand, too.  And thinking of that made my evening -- spent at my local gallery, admiring a private collection of black and white prints by photography's greatest (Stieglitz, Kertesz, Karsh, Adams, Baer, Weston, Cartier-Bresson and more) -- that much more rewarding, particularly the part where photographer and teacher Raymond Gendreau explained about Cartier-Bresson's theories about the Decisive Moment.

Though Bresson's book is no longer in print (and existing copies start at $435 and go up) you can see a brief excerpt from a speech he gave at the International Center for Photography on youtube below.  And that picture of the boy on the crutches was one of the prints I got to see this evening... utterly amazing.


2 comments:

Glynn said...

Thanks for sharing the video. Really good.

Maureen said...

I've seen the full length version from which the excerpt is taken. It's wonderful.

Some time ago when I was visiting one of my sisters in Ga., the contemporary museum there had a show of Adams photographs. What was wonderful was they were not the ones everyone knows.

What a marvelous line-up of photographers you note. They so knew how to look and see.

The opening of your post made me smile. You're finally able to have a sunny day and we're driven to stay indoors because the heat is so oppressive (in fact, dangerously high).