16 September 2007

Nightswimming deserves a quiet night

I realize my posting has been sporadic recently. Part of the reason is that I've been busy with my job, but I've also been in a kind of general funk. The light has been beautiful for the last couple of days, but I haven't felt very inspired. In any case, since I haven't shot much recently I decided to go through some of the stuff I did over the summer and post it, even if it's not particularly good.

At some point during the summer, I had the idea that I would go for a walk around Radford every night and shoot things up close with the flash. I wasn't sure what I would get, but I was excited about the possibility of seeing things in a different way. I didn't really follow through with the project, but I did go out and walk around a couple of nights and the photos above are from those walks.

I'm also posting the lyrics to the song-line above, REM's "Nightswimming," from Automatic for the People. When the album was released, MTV and the radio stations constantly played "Drive" and "Man on the Moon." I like those songs, but I've always thought "Nightswimming" was the best song on the album. When I listen to it now, I remember walking aimlessly around my mom's neighborhood at night, lost in an adolescent fog and longing for something I couldn't name. Part of what I liked about "Nightswimming" was that it seemed to express the way I felt, and the resonance was particularly strong during those night walks, with the rise and fall of the guitar, piano and Stipe's plaintive voice blending with the trill of insects and the steady hum of air-conditioners.


Nightswimming deserves a quiet night
The photograph on the dashboard, taken years ago,
Turned around backwards so the windshield shows
Every streetlight reveals the picture in reverse
Still, it's so much clearer
I forgot my shirt at the water's edge
The moon is low tonight

Nightswimming deserves a quiet night
I'm not sure all these people understand
It's not like years ago,
The fear of getting caught,
Of recklessness and water
They cannot see me naked
These things, they go away,
Replaced by everyday

Nightswimming, remembering that night
September's coming soon
I'm pining for the moon
And what if there were two
Side by side in orbit
Around the fairest sun?
That bright, tight forever drum
Could not describe nightswimming

You, I thought I knew you
You, I cannot judge
You, I thought you knew me,
This one laughing quietly underneath my breath

The photograph reflects,
Every streetlight a reminder
Nightswimming deserves a quiet night, deserves a quiet night


Anonymous said...

Wow! These pics are great! Night time is a beautiful time (most of the time). I like the dark -- I love the tall grass. - Kris

Karen said...

I'm glad that you've finally posted these. It's a great set and it's nice to see them on something larger than your camera's screen.

Josh Harrod said...

I was really happy to see this post. Oddly enough, my cousin Susan and I were talking on Friday night about how much we dislike using flashes (she was the primary photographer at my brother's wedding and was preparing to shoot a five o'clock candlelight ceremony with no flash). She was primarily saying that she dislikes it when photographers use the flash in such a way that it looks like they didn't need to use a flash in the given setting. I agreed completely, and said that really the only time I liked shots with a flash was when the photographer was making the viewer blatantly aware of the use of the flash to illuminate objects that had been completely taken by darkness. Again, I'm reminded of Bertolt Brecht's aesthetic. I tried to tell her about your series of night flash shots, but was having a hard time doing it justice. So now I can just send her to your blog to see for herself.