Thursday, November 5, 2009

Halloween (and the Fourth) Are My Favorite Holidays

I've always liked certain public holidays, the Fourth of July and Halloween, especially. What I like about them is that people mill around aimlessly in public places. They are usually in a good mood, and while children might be excited, the adults are usually just walking or standing or sitting around enjoying having no particular duties except to have a feeling of mild enjoyment. What people enjoy, or at least what I enjoy, is the sharing of this vague, dispersed happiness in a public space--so different from a concert or political rally or other public gatherings, which are focused and have a distinct mood and share a specific interest, a particular band, person, or cause.

But Halloween and the Fourth are swarming, drifting holidays. I think the mood I take from them has influenced the way I take pictures and what I'm looking for when I put together my composites. Community is perhaps the jargon version of the word I'm looking for, but it misses a nuance. The sense of people sharing their private feelings of pleasure or boredom in public--while still maintaining complete privacy and even serenity--despite the chaos and the crowds. I suppose what I am describing is a version of what Walker Evans was looking for in his subway pictures (the book is Many Are Called), pictures of people as they might be at home, unguarded and unobserved.

(Picture info: I took about 70 pictures over about 15 minutes to make this composite of about 100 layers.)

No comments: