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February 2, 2012: Depth of Field

Last night I went to photography class, braving a rain/snow windstorm to get there . Beforehand, I went to the library and checked out photo books by Bernice Abbott, Edward Weston, and Walker Evans. Jim, who teaches the class noted that these are the modernist photographers. I then realized with a start that I’ve always had a strong interest in modernist writing and modernist photography. I particularly like James Agee’s Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, because he and Evans make the writing/visual image connection in a very artful way.


I’m particularly drawn to black-and-white photos that are stark, and have high contrast, like those of Bernice Abbott. I also like how she makes the word/image connection in her cityscapes. Her humor, which is present in many of these photos, intrigues me. There’s one, of a large marquee type sign being pulled off a truck. It reads “Damages.” This photo reminded me of my living in Portsmouth, and taking a photo of a horse on wheels, next to a no parking sign. My image was blurry –I lacked the technical expertise needed to pull this one off. But perhaps I can do this.

So the question is, do I toe the line this semester and just do as asked? Or do I rely some on my own inner vision and try to do the assignments in a more artful way? Might it be possible to take some photos, and use words, both on and off the page? As of now, I just don’t know.

Depth of Field
“I was on my way here, to photography class,
and this cop, I see him coming up behind me.
I pulled over, like the blue lights were flashing,
it was really intense.
Like, this was gonna be my third offense!
The cop tells me I was doing sixty.
I smile and tell him that I always pass
semis fast, because this keeps ya from getting in an accident.
But of course, after I always slow down.
He let me go. Thank God I’m a girl!”
“You played the dumb female. I like it,”
her classmate said.

Next: 59. 2/3/12: Introspection