Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Milky Way

There isn't a photograph for this one, it still waits undeveloped in a ziplock bag in the freezer. But can I provoke within you an imagination of what the photograph entitles?

I was driving down the mountain with my mother, when we had hit a cloud of mist, and everything 7-9ft before us turned into diffused white. I slowed down, and as we hit a turn I looked out on my right hand side and saw a small concentrated forest of Eucalytus trees through the mist. I immediately pulled over, hitting the rough shoulder as my mother yells from her cellphone conversation, "watch it!". I grabbed my camera, turned off the headlights, and checked the road for passing cars before I got out, walked to the edge of the road and hopped the guardrail. I walked down the hill, knowing where the forest was, but could not see it through the milk of mist. The closer I got the more detail I was given of a forest, and it was like each step I was controlling the opacity of these Eucalytus'. I pulled my camera out and looked down through the viewfinder and didn't see my shot, I had to get closer. And closer and closer I got, each progression I checked my viewfinder and still didn't see my shot. At this point the forest was visible, with it's depth vanishing behind it. It wasn't until I was close enough to touch it I took my first shots. It felt like I had discovered an animal I had been studying for years, like when Sam Neil's character in Jurassic Park sees a real dinosaur for the first time. Well, maybe not that excited, but it was a search that had found some reward. I dove down to the grove that met the condensed trees with a soaked lower half, and couldn't believe what I was seeing.
It was like a dream, no, it was like being in a dream with a camera. And as cliche as it is, it was being surrounded by a misty perimeter that made it dream-like. Maybe it was the isolation the mist made with my surroundings, or maybe I remembered those misty nights in Texas, when I used to wander the streets, as if I were sleepwalking.

When I think back at that moment, I think of having experienced it to its fullest. With a camera in hand, it felt like being excited doing work, and though I was there, I was living that moment, a part of me was absent, thinking of photography, of what depth of field I wanted, or how to better compose this moment, and lastly, how this place will look as a photograph. I came to a crossroads of being a tourist armed with a camera, and a person who needs to document his memories because he's afraid of losing them.
Over the next few days, more or less this has been all I've been thinking of. I think of those I know who hold and tell such great stories, and how I too have seen some crazy shit in my life time, but there are chunks meeting here, and chunks meeting there, and picture isn't a picture but a cloud of mist where I know it is. My retrieval of memories doesn't work like others, I need the right cue, and a very particular cue to rebirth certain memories. And as I brush off as shy, or awkward, the truth is only a few people have the ability to open my library as I share with them my favorite memories. Those people know me better than anyone else, maybe even more than my mother.

"[As it] fades into the milk of dreams." - Jorge Mulally

No comments: