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Why I always carry a camera (#2): form and light

magnolia pistel

shy pistel, May 16, 2011

There’s a passage in my favorite book by Annie Dillard, “Pilgrim at Tinker’s Creek” in which she comments on how she sees differently when she walks with a camera.

I know this from my own walks. It’s as if a syntactical vision is imposed on the world by the nearness of the device and it’s familiar constraints. Juxtapositions that offer fluency or tension within these photo-mechanical confines often determine the route, duration and velocity of the trip.

The campus of Agnes Scott College is quite beautiful, as campuses go. It is meticulously maintained, all well-fed lawn with trimmed borders and neat pine straw beds around the trees and buildings. The paths are always free of debris  and the stately magnolias groves that populate the campus were both grand and floral at that time of year.

I’ve been walking the campus for over 20 years now, and I’ve seen some pretty spectacular flowers there. But on this particular evening, the light was soft and directional, and this one presented itself at just the right angle in just the right incoming light at just the right moment. It’s pistel was hidden from view; in another day, it would be browned, wilted and expired. But here it was at it’s prime, fully opened, and scented to heady perfection. I stood as tall as I could, and reaching the camera out, set the auto focus with my eye perhaps 10 inches from the finder.

Deferring to that moment, I have keep this image subdued, preferring to let it’s form have the leading voice. The minimum crop to 4×5 made sense to me… t

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Guy #

    or bashful flower
    1970s psychedelic

  2. Puden #

    My brother; the Wordsmith/Photographer.


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