This photograph currently appears in “The Portrait 2022” issue of the online journal, F-Stop Magazine. Let me tell you its story.
On April 25, 2019, just before noon, I was walking in downtown Bridgeport, Connecticut with a Canon 5D Mark III and the old “nifty fifty” (50mm f/1.8) lens. At McLevy Green, next to the Bridgeport Town Hall, a couple of people were playing chess at one of the concrete tables on the edge of the Green. . . .
I want to introduce you to a new portfolio of mine: “Towers and Devices of an Alien Race.” But I don’t, don’t want to squeeze it into an ill-fitting box of conceptions or drown it in chat about techniques or influence. Still, I want to tell you a few of the thoughts and feelings that I had in making these works.
. . . But now I’ve posted a new – well, almost completely new – portfolio on my photography website, called “At the Parking Lot on Center Street.”
Its previous incarnation, “A Brief Walk on Center Street,” has been largely replaced, and what hasn’t been replaced has been re-edited. When I took the original photos, mostly impromptu, I didn’t have with me the gear that I really needed for the “job.” From time to time in my pandemic confinement, I thought about getting back and doing the work better. And the confinement gave me the opportunity and the obsessive push (how many photography videos did I watch, sometimes more than once!) to explore new gear, new techniques, new software, all of which played roles in producing this portfolio.
I miss the pleasures of meeting people in doing my street photography. Various factors have kept me from it almost completely for several years: a major change in the nature of my paying employment, a new office location, a much-needed surgery and long rehabilitation, the pandemic. But I have to say that my experience, mostly on the streets of downtown Hartford, Connecticut, wasn’t all warming and satisfying, though it did call to my mind aspects of the life presented in the Gospels just as much as did the better parts of my portrait-seeking experience.
One of the great dangers for each of us is that we let someone define us, even it’s ourselves, and then we let that definition dictate what we do and don’t do, what we believe is possible or right for us. At various times in my life, I’ve felt impelled to challenge some idea of myself, sometimes at the cost of tremendous anxiety and apprehension. I often think of (and have a couple of T-shirts that quote) the remark of one of the child “Candidates” in The Matrix, when Neo asks him how he is bending a spoon only by thinking about: “There is no spoon.” St. Paul has a similar, but farther-reaching saying: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13.)
As the title of this post promises, here is the photograph that just last week joined my ongoing, award-winning “Marion under the Moon” series. Its title is “Dream of the Playground Melting into Night.” Several friends of mine, seeing it for the first time, have ha wildly differing emotional reactions to it . . . One male friend said that the image provides “mysteries upon mysteries”. . . .
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