Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Sunset Drive


You get to a point in life where you start wishing that you'd taken the time, made the effort, to photograph so many of the everyday happenings that seemed of no great importance at the time, the people you ran into every day, the places you went for coffee or to grab a newspaper. Now they're gone. Businesses changed hands, buildings were torn down to be replaced by others, people moved, retired, died.

No, you can never ever again recapture a moment in time, but at some point you come to the realization that everything that even existed at that point in time is now but a memory. Gone forever. The horses grazing on Biscayne Blvd. where a strip mall now entices shoppers, a few blocks away where a college dorm, once a roadside motel where Linda Lovelace starred in Deep Throat, now houses students with no idea of the history of their current home, a short lived ice arena torn down to make way for another strip mall. We can never have too many strip malls!

Some people think I'm a bit of a nut because I always seem to have a camera with me. I take pictures of some very mundane everyday things, things that remind me of what I wished I'd photographed in the past. My friends across the table as we drink coffee, maybe the waitress serving the coffee. And since I got adept at photographing myself with that ultra wide angle 15mm lens sometimes I take photos of myself doing some very mundane things too, everything from going to the Post Office to getting a haircut. Here it's aproaching dusk, the sun is almost set, and I'm driving my truck towards the east.

Yet on another level I've lived here nearly continuously for what will be 50 years this October. Eleven years later I bought the house I'm still living in. I've been the photographer at various times for a local university, a couple of newspapers and regional magazine. the city, the chamber of commerce, various churches and not for profits.

While other photographers were out travelling the world in search of adventure I was examining my environment in depth, and over a couple of generations. Now I'm starting to realize that I was doing the same to myself, recording my life, studying myself. I wish I had photographs of myself on my bicycle in the 1950's, driving the VW beetle in the 1960's, and so on, but I can have photos of myself driving the Toyota Tacoma now, sometimes alone, other times with Monkey and with some of my friends, at dusk and at night as well as during the day. No I didn't miss the travelling. I got to be part of my community and took part in raising my children. That was my adventure.

2 Comments:

Blogger Todd Frederick Photography said...

Al, I think this is your best essay yet. I can think of no better reason to carry a camera and photograph every day. Todd

7:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Al, great piece today; Sunset Drive! One of your best.

--Dan Lovell

10:39 PM  

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