Gloomy Sunday

As dreary and uninspiring as the weather is today I have oddly accomplished things.  First and foremost, I didn’t get out of bed until approaching ten o’clock this morning.  That wouldn’t normally be either a compliment or an advantage but it required the dull weather to keep me at rest for a change. In a rare admission it has been the exceptionally fine weather we’ve enjoyed for a prolonged period that has kept me buoyant beyond my capacity.  In short, I needed a break.  Instead of launching myself as has been my custom somewhat reluctantly – and automatically – from bed every morning at 7:00 am (for which an alarm on my iPhone was set), I succumbed instead to natural fatigue.  I’m hoping the break will relieve my expiring knees.  The daily bicycling looks good on my c.v. but it patently harms my aging mechanism.  It will however require a lot more than a one-day break to stop me from bicycling but it’s an accommodation.

Meanwhile I have taken the opportunity to aggravate our friends George and Nancy on Longboat Key instead. They’re wintering at their place there for the moment from their primary residence in northern USA. Nancy made the mistake of commenting favourably upon my photos which embellish my website. This seemingly innocuous injection precipitated a number of technical curiosities which had been percolating within me the past several weeks. It is a lesson in incremental escalation to review one’s collection of photographs over the past ten years.  Photos like so many other casual acquisitions tend to accumulate beyond recognition. Now don’t get me wrong, I haven’t undertaken a cleansing of my trophies; I’ve just figured a way to capture them more administratively. As in so many other matters it isn’t just a matter of substance, presentation counts. Basically I’ve learned a new way to deliver the product. I subdue my embarrassment upon the uninvited exchange of my photographs by reasoning that Nancy, for example, is like I moved by the evocation of photographs, the delight of colour and light at work in its sometimes astonishing ways. What interests me too is that historically I have preferred black and white to colour photographs.  Perhaps the predilection arose from the fact that so many of my favourite photos were by artists such as Yousuf Karsh who like so many professionals dealt only in black and white.

Yousuf Karsh CC (December 23, 1908 – July 13, 2002) was an Armenian-Canadian photographer known for his portraits of notable individuals. He has been described as one of the greatest portrait photographers of the 20th century.

Over the past several years I have graduated from the standard improvement of intensity to the more individual or “artistic” (and I use the word hesitatingly) approach to amendment, combining what are at first blush incompatible alterations.  I can’t pretend to be driven by any particular ambition; mostly it’s just a matter of trial and error.  The occasional favourable outcome is most often unanticipated but welcome. In fairness I have learned to focus on elemental features of the original photo in order to derive an overall bearing which strangely highlights the initial attraction. Interestingly it is this same preoccupation – that is, detail – which increasingly enthuses my writing as well.  And when I say detail I do not mean the tiresome focus upon precision but rather the depth of ingredients. Getting “down and dirty” is far more captivating than clinical or grammatical discussion. Life after all is like that. Sadly the advancement of age is an awakening of that very proposition.  In youth, appetite and passion mischievously obscure what in old age is tedious and sometimes distasteful. Perhaps that is why art appeals mostly to people “of an age”, people who are seeking invention for new interpretations, like “editing” photographs.