After going so long without a post I feel like some kind of explanation is in order. This is probably an over compensation, but here it goes anyway.
Our on-line absence was not for lack of content, though between a scheduled maternity leave and the general paralysis imposed by Covid, we certainly weren’t generating much that was new. But we have entire sets and wonderful individual photos that remain unshared, just waiting for the right moment to be posted. I continuously considered, started to post, and reconsidered.
A photograph of an event, no matter how fantastic, is a contextless bit of trivia, a rectangle removed from reality. It serves to evoke a memory or an emotion, but, just like other, less realistic forms of visual art, is reliant entirely upon the viewer for meaning. A staged photograph takes this to another level. It suspends reality altogether. The scene never existed, there is no memory to be stirred. Our brain tells us photographs are
reality, but they are anything but. I’d long been fascinated by the disconnect between frame and the goings on outside of it, but when the makeup artist was not only not wearing makeup, but also sporting a mask, faceshield, and gloves, when the entire crew appeared inhuman, the image of a perfectly coiffed, ethereal model crossed the line from fantasy to absurd. What were we fantasizing about anyway? Clothes to wear to a Zoom chat? Or just some kind of normalcy? Should the latter require a charade of the most non-normal of circumstances to achieve? What, even, was the role of art in general when people were having trouble finding toilet paper?
I had not figured any of that out when, one year after the birth of our child and the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, I trekked out for my first real, post-baby photoshoot very, very early on a frigid Sunday morning. Ana and Mike were eagerly anticipating the arrival of their own first child, and were hoping I could capture this brief chapter of their story together. The wind numbed my fingers and burned my face within minutes, and as usual at the beginning of many photoshoots I questioned my sanity until the golden light and love between parents and unmet child made it all so obviously worthwhile. It occurred to me that, perhaps, beauty is inspiring enough on its own. As humans we are capable of creating a great many things- life, art, sky scrapers, strip malls, masks, social distancing guidelines, even viruses. But we are each also uniquely capable of deeply recognizing great beauty. It is the search of it, the attempt to share it in whatever way we know how, that truly makes life worth living.
Here’s to new beginnings.