Window Shade… The Story Behind It

Here is another color offering.  This one was made back in July, 2011 and is a very early iPhone image.  It is very close to the time that I came to the realization that I could really make use of my iPhone as an artistic tool.  My son had attended a photography camp down in Mesilla and we were out one day exploring for images.  He was using my Sony camera that I had at the time so I was forced to use my iPhone or not make any images.  Looking back that was a fortuitous turn for my development.  Most images get deleted from the camera roll on the phone after I have gotten them transferred to my Lightroom catalog so that I always have space available for new work as it presents itself to me.  There are some that never get deleted though and this one is near the top of the stack now.
I remember sitting on the stairs next to my wife one day two or three years ago now looking through images on the camera roll and saying that this one really satisfies me.  She asked me what it was about it that made it one of my favorites, and I found myself unable to verbalize anything of substance to help her understand.  I suppose I didn’t much understand myself, but since then I have reflected on it often, trying to find some understanding for myself and gain more insight into what it is that photography provides for my artistic soul.
Stories give me a lot of pleasure.  I like to read a good book or listen to a good story and even enjoy telling stories sometimes when presented with the right opportunity.  As I continue to develop as a photographic artist I believe more and more that it is a venue that I have been guided to for my use in telling stories that I have difficulty verbalizing.  I wrote about that in the introduction to a show that I hung at the local library last fall for the Pintores Art League.  And I believe that it is, or at least can be, just as much about telling a specific story as it can be in invoking images and stories within my viewers.
Right now I am working on images for submission to a new juried publication that Brooks Jensen of LensWork has conceived called “Seeing In Sixes.”  It’s all about small projects and he likens it to things like Japanese haiku poetry.  In discussing the concept he also referred to the six-word story concept in fiction writing and how Hemingway was famously challenged to write a story in six words and promptly responded with “Baby Shoes For Sale, Never Worn.”  How powerful!  There is a story that everyone can take and build on in their own minds… and each one of those personal stories can and will be different.
So I think this is one of my visual short stories.  There to challenge my imagination and that of my viewers.  What’s behind that window, how long since it has been opened?  It doesn’t appear to have been in use in quite some time now, where have those who used it in the past moved on to?  Literally; “if this window, this shade could talk….”  You fill in the blank for your own story.  I know I do, and it’s a different one each time I stop and spend time with this image.
From a technical standpoint this one is no great shakes.  It came out of an HDR app and obviously had issues with alignment as it radiated out from the central form of the pull cord.  You could say that I made a halfhearted attempt at a Rule Of Thirds composition, but if you put a ruler to it I think you would find that I missed in a strict sense.  I didn’t even really do much to tweak exposure, contrast, saturation or any of that.  I probably didn’t even have much of that available to me for that back then.  But the image doesn’t need any of that, at least not for me anyway.  It worked for me back then and has managed to stand the test of time and remain on my camera roll now for five years.  Not every image has to speak to everyone, but if this one manages to give even one other person a story to enjoy, then I will consider it a success beyond what it has already been for me personally.
(Originally published May 31, 2016)

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