Poetry, Hums, and Photographs

Poetry and hums are not things which you get, they're things which get you. And all you can do is go where they can find you. –Winnie the Pooh

When I go looking I generally fail. When I go seeing, the world reveals itself. For the flaneur (thanks to my friend E. Luanne McKinnon for recognizing this in me), all you can do is to go where the photographs can find you. I was reminded of this last week as I was walking the streets of San Francisco with a camera. Looking!

I have been actively working on Urban Reflections for 21 weeks, and captured over 1300 photographic images. There are now about 75 images that I consider a part of, or candidates for the Canon. I have also reached that inevitable point in the development of a body of work, where I am wanting more: to move more deeply, towards the essence of the artistic exploration. It is tempting at this point to start working; to start digging. Which, of course, is precisely the wrong approach, as I was reminded by my personal ordeal, and by a certain bear named Pooh.

My experience of playing the photographer is much like meditation (except when it is not), and much like Winnie the Pooh's poetry and hums. Photographs are things that get me; I do not get them. And all I can every really do is to show up with a ready camera and open perceptions, and wait to be found. In the case of last week's foray, I had noticed certain visual and semiotic patterns evolving out of the Canon, and I was hot on the trail for 'more like that'. I was working very hard at this task for over an hour, when I realized that I was tense and frustrated and not making particularly good images. Then came the voice of Pooh, and the realization that In working to find, I was failing to see. I had forgotten that the patterns in the canon of images are emergent. My job in all of this is to remain open and ready, so that the patterns and images can find me.

I did finally relax, and the images came to me. Here are a couple that I hope you will enjoy:

you_are_here
You Are Here
There are signs around the city with maps to orient visitors, and the reflections of the street life (in this case the skateboarders in Ferry Plaza) in the surfaces of these signs makes for a wonderful counterpoint. This might turn into a theme.

Safe+Sound
Safe+Sound and Pigs Can Fly (can you figure out that title!). In the lobby of the San Francisco Federal Reserve, is a museum, of sorts, dedicated to the dollar and the safety of the US Banking System. This tower of iconic piggy banks is juxtaposed against the banality of the street reflected in the glass storefront.

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