Tuesdays are my new favorite day of the week.
I look forward to visiting my friends in the Circle of Confusion photography meetup group. There are lively conversations among people who simply love making pictures. I sat for awhile today with two photographers I admire—Alex Grissom and Bob Martin.
Alex and I take turns sharing photo books we love. Alex's turn today, and he brought a book of wistful images, marked by longing and gentle reminders of the transiency of life. The book, What Is Left Behind by Norm Diamond, presents a curated collection of poignant photographs from Norm's visits to Estate sales. Having cleaned out my own mother's home after she moved to a residential memory care facility, I understand the sadness of left behind pieces of ordinary life—an old board game, the science fair backdrop, a house dress, photo albums, a favorite coffee mug—all those things that remind us of what once was. And yet, despite the sorrow, there is a kind of realization that is freeing—that, in the end, all that really matters are the relationships we've nurtured and grown.
Bob is a photographer for our local newspaper, semi-retired these days, but still on the beat, called as needed. He shared photos from an incident of domestic violence that resulted in a police officer being stabbed just this week. It was interesting to see the flow of his pictures, as he walked into the scene, from wide angle views to close-ups. His photographs live in the place where fine art and documentary photography co-mingle. Every element in the frame contributes to the story. He is a master storyteller.
The three of us talked about the photographs that can stand alone telling a story the way no words could ever hope to; about the photos that come in series to give the story its wholeness; and finally about those beautiful times when photos and words live in company in such a way that one depends on the other.
I spend time before and after the photography gathering, walking the Darby Town neighborhood around the coffee shop where we meet. It would make sense to suspect that I'd run out of things to photograph, that inspiration would dry up. But this does not happen.
Instead, I am energized by the meeting and my way of seeing continues to expand. On this rainy morning, Princess Anne Street looks different, as though I've traveled back in time to some quieter, more peaceful place.
Walking along the brick sidewalk, I see Dwight and Mamie peering from inside out.
I see the apartment building with two old Buicks parked side-by-side.
I wonder about the lives of the people who live nestled in this little community.
I feel the rain drops on my back and I tuck my camera inside my shirt. I walk back to the car and thank God for Tuesday mornings like this.