For reasons that are no secret, electronic books and reading devices hold no appeal for me. I am a touchy-feely kind of person. I love hugs and handshakes. I love the texture of fabric, knits, wood, pottery and paper. I love printed pictures and words and books, most of all books.
I ordered a gift for myself, a photography book, Arriving Home – a love story by Johnny Patience. The postman delivered the book today, and I did not wait till Christmas to open the package. Instead I carefully opened the parcel, savoring the details of the wrapping and presentation.
I’ve followed Johnny’s 365 Project from start-to-finish. He shoots from the heart, making pictures that evoke quiet emotion through subtlety and nuance rather than shouts for attention. His deeply original photographs portray his feelings about home, where creative spirit is intertwined with place. Johnny’s art is infused with Maine. Through his eyes, I fall in love with neighborhood cafes, old cars, one-of-a-kind characters, snow, forests, a Dalmatian named Timmy, and his wife Rebecca.
If the measure of a photograph, or a body of work, lies in its impact on the viewer, then Arriving Home is a resounding success. Holding the book in my hands, I feel a deep connection to my own home, a rekindling of appreciation for how my surroundings have shaped me. I’ve lived my entire life in Virginia, mostly in one spot, and I continue to feel the deep pull of this place. Johnny’s images encourage me to find inspiration where I live.
It is through place that we put out roots, wherever birth, chance, fate or our traveling selves set us down; but where those roots reach toward is the deep and running vein, eternal and consistent and everywhere purely itself, that feeds and is fed by the human understanding. –Eudora Welty