28 September 2007

I'm a bit like the peephole, that falls in love with all the eyes that look through


I took the shot above at the Holiday Motor Lodge in Pearisburg, VA(see my post from September 23). I darkened the contrast a little, but otherwise I haven't manipulated the photo. In the original shot, the camera exposed for the window reflections, leaving the fountain overexposed. I decided to ratchet up the shadows a bit, and this is the result. I think it's kind of eerie; I like the multiple reflections of the road, the powerline, the sky, and the white "Magic Mart" sign.

Maybe the photo does nothing for you; that's understandable, it's somewhat gimicky, silly even. In any case, if it doesn't speak to you, perhaps these W. Carlos Williams poems will. I read them in my American lit. class today. I'm not sure any of my students liked them. I think it takes some time and maturity to appreciate the honesty and clarity of observation in Williams' poetry--an interest in photography also doesn't hurt; like many of the photographers I enjoy (Eggleston, Evans, Wessel, etc.), Williams was interested in presenting the beautiful, often overlooked things in his locale in precise, unadorned language. The following poems make this obvious, particularly the second one, which would make a fine epigraph to a collection of Walker Evans' photos. The line breaks and spacing aren't quite what they should be in the poems. Blogger seems to want to left-justify everything. Sorry.

Danse Russe

If I when my wife is sleeping
and the baby and Kathleen
are sleeping
and the sun is a flame-white disc
in silken mists
above shining trees,--
if I in my north room
dance naked, grotesquely
before my mirror
waving my shirt round my head
and singing softly to myself:
"I am lonely, lonely.
I was born to be lonely,
I am best so!"
If I admire my arms, my face,
my shoulders, flanks, buttocks
again the yellow drawn shades,--

Who shall say I am not
the happy genius of my household?

Pastoral

The little sparrows
hop ingenuously
about the pavement
quarreling
with sharp voices
over those things
that interest them.
But we who are wiser
shut ourselves in
on either hand
and no one knows
whether we think good
or evil.

Meanwhile,
the old man who goes about
gathering dog-lime
walks in the gutter
without looking up
and his tread
is more majestic than
that of the Episcopal minister
approaching the pulpit
of a Sunday.

These things
astonish me beyond words.

2 comments:

Karen said...

Posts like these are why I'm glad that I know you (among one or two other reasons). I love the photo and the poems. Both took me a moment to wrap my mind around.

streetlight said...

I found this series interesting in that the images get closer to the ever elusive "timelessness" that is so often thrown around when discussing what makes a photograph successful- nothing is DATED or Romantic or nostaglic....yeah, time is in of itself here, the images represent time and the passage of....but do not "mark" a model or era- reflection...
so photographically i enjoy this set, mostly because they are different then many of the others. i enjoy all your images, i enjoy that you are looking, mostly.