Thursday, January 10, 2013

Larz Anderson Park, Brookline, MA, late December 2012.
I've had the urge lately to continue my Selected People series, and here's a brand new picture to prove it. My wife Margaret loves to ice skate. I don't. But I agreed on a cold windy afternoon between Christmas and New Year's to go with her to Larz Anderson Park in Brookline, just a mile or two from where we live. It was what my wife's parents used to call a VWW--a veritable winter wonderland. In the past, a little trip like was unlikely to happen. But now, I carry in my wallet a driver's license issued July 12, 2012, the day I passed my driver's test (on the first try). If you're counting, it required 43 years of eligibility to make this happen. Not a terrible rate for me, since it took me, for example, 27 years to get an undergraduate degree (no, I wasn't enrolled the whole time, you wiseacre). We also, unbelievably, have a car. It's always been my theory that the car is as important a tool to a photographer as a tripod or any other accessory--probably more so. It's what gets the camera to where the photographer wants it--a moving  tripod, as I've called it before. So not only is this picture picking up where I left off in spring 2012, it's my first picture using a car as a necessary tool.

The photo is a composite, of course, like the others in the series. There are about 120 different frames represented in this picture and I stood out in the gusty 20-degree wind for about 25 minutes to take about 200 pictures. It took three weeks to finish it in Photoshop. When I went to pick Margaret up at the skating rink, she asked if had fun. I tried my best not to be rude, snide, abrupt, or sarcastic, but I fucked it up. I snapped that it's never fun doing these pictures, and I was freezing my em-effing ass off.  I doubt I really snapped, since my mouth was numb and the words probably came out as mumbles. But it never is fun. I am artistically bold, outspoken in both small personal matters as well as the great issues of our day, firm and foursquare as a family man whose fiber is impeccably moral, etcetera. But when it comes to standing there with my tripod, out in a public park, plaza, or street, taking pictures of strangers who could turn on me at any second, I am timid soul, nervously panting, shifting from foot to foot, putting all my energy into looking comfortable--as if I were harmless (really, truly, I am!), as if I belonged. I don't. I'm sure I looked like a pedophile-terrorist. But the picture seem worth the discomfort.

A blue light hovered over the snow. The brown trees caught the final orange rays. The atmosphere turned a dim maroon. I thought it was too dark to keep taking pictures. But my trusty if antiquated (2005 model) Canon (5d) came through, seeing better than my eyes.