The Farmer’s daughters watched in the rain. The prettiest, shyest one hid far back in the field to watch and she had good reason because she was absolutely and finally the most beautiful girl. She was about sixteen, and had a plain complexion like wild roses, and the bluest eyes, the most lovely hair, and the modesty and quickness of a wild antelope. At every look she flinched. She stood there with the immense winds that blew clear down from Saskatchewan knocking her hair about her lovely head like shrouds, living curls of them. She blushed and blushed. Oh, a girl like that scares me, and I’d give up everything and throw myself on her mercy and if she didn’t want me I’d just as simply go and throw myself off the edge of the world. It’s okay, girl, we’ll make it till the sun goes down forever. And until then what you got to lose but the losing? We’re fallen angels who didn’t believe that nothing means nothing. We are nothing. Tomorrow we may be die -- we are nothing, you and me.
The photographer was thought to be an acute but non-interfering observer – a scribe, not a poet. But as people quickly discovered that nobody takes the same picture of the same thing, the supposition that cameras furnish an impersonal, objective image yielded to the fact that photographs are evidence not only of what’s there but of what an individual sees, not just a record but an evaluation of the world. It became clear that there was not just a simple activity called seeing - recorded by, aided by cameras -- but ‘photographic seeing’.
When I am in my car I am laid back. I guess it was the beatings that made me wise. I took a drive today, time to emancipate, to drive, not to be driven. Cars are the ultimate symbol of freedom, independence and individualism; they offer the freedom to go anywhere, whenever it suits and with whomever one chooses. The whole idea of the road, of going from one place to another, is essentially American. And when Henry Ford made cheap, reliable cars people said, ‘Nah, what’s wrong with the horse?’ That was a huge bet he made -- and it worked.
I am wearing a pair of shoes. Each day I wear them, and each day I wish I had another pair. Some days my shoes hurt so bad that I do not think I can take another step. Yet, I continue to wear them. I get funny looks wearing these shoes. They are looks of sympathy. I can tell in others eyes that they are glad they are my shoes and not theirs. They never talk about my shoes. To learn how awful my shoes are might make them uncomfortable. To truly understand these shoes you must walk in them. But, once you put them on, you can never take them off. I now realize that I am not the only one who wears these shoes. There are many pairs in this world. Some women are like me and ache daily as they try and walk in them. Some have learned how to walk in them so they don’t hurt quite as much. Some have worn the shoes so long that days will go by before they think about how much they hurt. No woman deserves to wear these shoes. Yet, because of these shoes I am a stronger woman. These shoes gave me the strength to face anything. They made me who I am.
Ordinary women never appeal to one’s imagination. No glamour ever transfigures them. One can always find them, obtainable everywhere. No mystery is in any of them. They show their stereotyped smile and their fashionable manner. They are quite obvious. From her handbag she takes a round gilt compact with violets on the cover. She opens it, unclosing her other self, and runs her fingertip around the corners of her mouth, left one, right one; then she swivels a pink stick and dots her cheeks and blends them, changing her shape, performing magic to herself. Pink on the cheeks; black discreetly around the eyes, as red as blood as black as ebony, a seamed and folded imitation of a magazine picture that is itself an imitation of a woman who is also an imitation, the original nowhere, a captive princess in someone’s head. Even an immaculately crafted porcelain doll couldn’t have been as lovely. Beauty is given to dolls, majesty to haughty vixens, but mind, feeling and the crowning grace of fortitude are the attributes of an angel.
I'll stop wearing black when they invent a darker color. Collars are buttoned down so they don't flap in your face when you're playing polo. What is style but a form of silent speech? When I put together an outfit to wear, I am putting together chapters of a story that needs to tell itself to the world in merely a minute! When I choose an outfit to wear, I am choosing a speech, a certain flow of mind-to-skin that is important to be understood. Style is the sentiment that I make without needing to speak to anyone and it's also an internal conversation that I make with myself throughout the day, I share those intimate words every time I look into the mirror -- or every time I look at my photographs.
I've always been a fast driver, even before I could afford a fast car. It was impatience as much as anything: chafing at the fact that I couldn’t actually do anything while driving -- except drive. In fact I don't drive fast, I just drive young. They say life is a highway and we all travel our own roads, some good, some bad, yet each is a blessing of its own.'Loneliness has been good to me' is playing on my personal radio. My spiritual pilgrimage - looking for something, somewhere, anywhere here. The road makes a noise all its own. It's a single note that stretches in all directions, low and nearly inaudible. It was very louring here, and the moon flashed and flickered behind the tall trees. The best way I can think to describe it, she said, is the way, when you're driving on the roadway at night how everyone can see the moon in their window. Every car feels the moon is following that car, even in the other direction, right? Everyone in that entire hemisphere can see the moon and think it is there for them, is following where they go. Don’t be afraid of an endless road, only corners joined together, but the road with an end. The road is a word, conceived elsewhere and laid across the country in the wound prepared for it -- a word made concrete and thrust among us. One reaches a destination by driving on that road, not by laying back to enjoy the view -- that's how life works.
Photography is an elegiac art, a twilight art. Most subjects photographed are, just by virtue of being photographed, touched with pathos. An ugly or grotesque subject may be moving because it has been dignified by the attention of the photographer. A beautiful subject can be the object of rueful feelings, because it has aged or decayed or no longer exists. The very question of whether photography is, or is not, an art is essentially a misleading one. Although photography generates works that can be called art – it requires subjectivity, it can lie, it gives aesthetic pleasure – photography is not, to begin with, an art form at all. It is a medium in which works of art, among other things, are made.
In the first light of dawn, in the coastline’s haze, leaning from the steep slope without fear of wind or vertigo, an invisible landscape conditions the visible one. The city outside there has a name, yet we don’t know if it will remain outside or whether its whole story will be contained within the blueprint’s inky blackness. If you want to know how much darkness there is around you, you must sharpen your eyes, peering at the faint lights in the distance. The city displays one face to the traveler arriving overland and a different one to him who arrives by sea. With cities, it is as if with dreams: everything imaginable can be dreamed, but even the most unexpected dream is a rebus that conceals a desire or, its reverse, a fear. Thus, the first secret spot that draws you outside is a stump and board bench on a high terrace overlooking the sea and the bay. With a never-ending view and a stunted tree for shelter, like a bird’s wing to stick your head under, you are hidden. No one knows where you are -- your mother is calling and you are not answering.
In deciding how a picture should look, in preferring one exposure to another, photographers are always imposing standards on their subjects. Although there is a sense in which the camera does indeed capture reality, not just interpret it, photographs are as much an interpretation of the world as paintings and drawings are. To us, the difference between the photographer as an individual eye and the photographer as an objective recorder seems fundamental, the difference often regarded, mistakenly, as separating photography as art from photography as document.