Saturday, August 27, 2011

Empty Chairs and Tables 364/365

Another photo journal post for Kat's Find Your Eye class.  I understand she'll soon be starting another series, so if you missed this time around, check Kat's website for coming details.  If you're tired of reading my soul searching, you are welcome to take a pass or just glance at photos-I totally understand.   I'm enjoying my journey and am gonna keep on keeping on.

At the Library
At the Library

In this lesson we were to explore a subject we normally wouldn't think of shooting.  I'm sure I botched this lesson, but inspiration came, kind of big, and well it's my journey and I'm feeling spunky, so there you have it.  I usually go out to shoot photos-rarely with a plan, but searching for something in beautiful light or that makes me pause.  I take shots of whatever I find; architecture, landscapes, flowers, seascapes, storefronts, reflections....but rarely people-that would have been a good challenge for me.  For many reasons, it didn't happen.


This chair outside the library lined with raindrops caught my eye when I returned a book.  I went back a bit later to see what I could do with the setting.  I will admit, when I look at an empty chair, that's really not stretching far enough for me, but I did take over 100 photos from a variety of angles, including upside down, on my back, underneath, over top, abstract, out of focus, up close, far got it. 

I usually shoot in early morning or late day light, so I guess the lack of sunlight would be different for me.  I also haven't had much chance to play with raindrops so that too would be away from the usual.  Using strictly lines and shapes for inspiration, without the aid of sunlight is something outside of what I normally do.  I need to do this more-where subject rather than light is the inspiration.

I took some photos.  I almost gave up and thought of searching for another subject until....I added my hands to the images.  That became very inspiring, exciting, and that's when I lost sense of time and what was going on around me.  When I chose to enter myself into the brought life, contrast, and emotion.

My friend Nancy's husband died last Sunday night.  When I went home and looked at my images, they instantly made me think of her.

Tied Together
Tied Together

In a relationship, a long marriage, people are tied together.  When one passes, the ties are severed, and life takes a whole new form, in a moment, or a breath, or in the absence of a heartbeat.

Holding On
Holding On

There's a desire to hold on, but what was there isn't really there anymore.

Gone {364/365}

It's as if you can almost feel it, but when you reach out and touch.....there's nothing there.

Wipe Away
Wipe Away

Which plays with all kinds of difficult, uncomfortable, and sometimes nasty emotions;


and many tears, so many many tears.

Unkind Reverie
Unkind Reverie

Oh, if only we could brush it all away....
Bittersweet, melancholy, anger, laughter, heartache, loneliness, memories, and that incredible aching hole in your heart.


And no answers.  Only riddles and more questions, and the letting go of something you want so desperately to again hold close.

My thoughts while shooting these images were not of Nancy or of Joe.  I loved shooting my hands in the raindrops...and I could feel something happening, just not to this depth.  The depth came when I looked at the images later.  I like the results.  I like that my images made me feel something intensely.  I struggle with that, so this lesson truly was soul searching.  We all have our losses, on varying levels, and I believe they are all difficult and all require a process-never an easy one.

I am not one for quotes.  I like them, but bless my soul, I can't remember them, even if I try.  I jotted this one down the other seemed so apropos to where I am in my photography journey and to my life journey too.
Of course....Thoreau....

"It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see."

In this exercise, I truly looked at one thing and saw something else.  Wow.
Thanks for reading my thoughts, as heavy as they are.  I appreciate your visit and any comment you'd like to share.  Have a great day.

RIP Joe hearing aid wearing buddy.  I'll think of you often.



Wanda said...

I was struck by how monochromatic these images are--and how perfectly perfect they are because of it. Somehow the same images, even with lingering raindrops, in sunlight would not have been as compelling. Nice!

Carol Blackburn said...

Very touching post, Susan. I'm sorry for your loss. Stay safe through the storm.

Kay L. Davies said...

The Thoreau quotation was perfect, then, Susan. You were able to look at your hand and see your friends, the one who is gone and the one who is left. Beautifully done.
— K

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

Ms. Becky said...

well...a very moving post. it leaves me a bit speechless. it seems you did let it all go. or brush it all away. something shifted.
I've been thinking of you lots and lots these couple of days. gonna write. hope you're safe. keep Tula Dot and Princess very close. sending you a long strong hug.

gina said...

This post really resonated with me, Susan, as my mother passed away a few weeks ago. Your hand/water drop images and narrative really moved me to tears. What an amazing exercise this was for you -- beautifully written.

Leanne said...

Wow, so great that you were able to get so much from this exercise. I enjoyed reading this. Thanks.

Dyche Designs said...

So sorry to hear about your friends husband, loss is hard. Love the exploration of your 'hand' photography and the accompanying words.

Mira said...

a truly beautiful post. I am sorry for your lost, please know we are here to be your virtual shoulders. keep writting. :)

Anonymous said...

Your words and images are very moving. Having a plan can be good, but adapting it to the environment can make it great.

Brenda said...

Your words and images resonate with emotional impact. I think the prompts and lessons are meant to be unique to each of us and you have made this a powerful personal expression.

Katie said...

The photographs are wonderful. I am very sorry for your loss. Your photographs and words are very powerful.

Kat Sloma said...

Oh Susan, you have truly found the power of photography and photojournaling for personal expression. This post was beautiful and touching, and a true work of art. Thank you for sharing it with all of us. Big hugs to you, I am so sorry for your loss.

Deborah L. Tisch said...

Your post brought tears to my eyes, me, a total stranger to you, but connected in cyberspace because of Kat's class. You have a gift, for photography and with your words. Thank you for sharing this very personal, loving post.

Blessings to you and your friend...

Becs said...

This post is so moving, I'm so sorry for your loss. Your photos are beautiful, the addition of your hand really does add an emotional intensity. I love "Tied" too. Great quote too, so true - as you've shown.

Scrappy Grams said...

your post spoke to me...thoughts of my loss brought tears to the surface
I love your photos and your sewing together of words! just being there for your friend will help her...I know

Christine E-E said...

what a beautiful post... perhaps you'll be able to share it with your friend as you journey through the next weeks together. Isn't it odd when we think we're bored, a simple re-focusing (addition of your hands) adds another dimension to the moment? Your camera + feelings = a deeply experience story! Thank you for sharing - I'm sorry to hear of your loss.

Gilly said...

Really touching post; this is what photography's really about. I love the way you related the tables and chairs to your friend's loss. You might enjoy reading what a friend of mine wrote along similar lines - it's also about the loss of someone, and it's linked to a bench that commemorates her:

It's tough to lose someone - my heart goes out to you and your friend.

Eileen said...

A fascinating post - I love the analogy between tears and the raindrops, and the contrast between the warm flesh of your hand and the cold shiny chairs. Very powerful - it does really conjure up a sense of loss and the fragility of life.