One of my greatest joys is visiting art galleries. The exposure to all kinds of art opens my eyes to what might be art, and more specifically what my art might be. I have respect and admiration for all art, and yet not all art touches me in that soul-deep way. When I visited the local photography exhibit at the Fredericksburg Center for Creative Arts, I spent a long while studying the pictures. I did not examine them for critique, but rather I read them for how they made me feel. And even though they were fine art, not one picture moved me deeply, not one stayed with me after I left. I might not have even realized this were it not for visits to other galleries on other days.
By way of example, the photographs of Susan Worsham have continued to live in my mind long after I first saw them. The picture of Margaret with collected pollen from her mother’s camellia, “Pollen Knife,” and the picture of the little girl standing at the screen door, “Icing Fingers” – these remain with me, as though planted in fertile soil. Pictures like these sink into me, or perhaps I sink into them. They break my heart in some way such that breaking is not breaking in two, but breaking open.
Even though I strive for, long for, and often live slowly, my heart races when I edit photographs that have meaning for me. There is a deep stirring in my gut that tells me these are my stories. I think to myself, this must be how the other photographers feel when they capture the heron in flight, the bride with the bouquet, the ball player sliding into home. I get it.
The photographs of everyday moments, like breakfast at the Courthouse Café, are the art that is my life.
The syrup dispenser and the stack of plates on the table of the booth by the door,
the dishcloths used over and over to clean the sticky sweetness of life from each table,
the bits and pieces of hearty meals,
and another family photo collage.
It’s the collage photo that makes me cry tears of joy. There was a time in my life when I wouldn’t have given this collection of photos a second glance. And I certainly wouldn’t have considered it picture-worthy. I am ashamed of my arrogance. The picture, hanging a little crooked, against the well-worn but cheerful yellow-striped wall paper, is a testament to people who eat in this café, people who make up this community, customers who are like family.
There is no accounting for taste. We love what we love because we are different, but never again will I look with disdain at the tiny moments of life.