Tybee Island, GA, 2002

Savannah Beach

An anonymous couple walking into a blurred nexus of land, sea, and sky could easily be a visual metaphor for a variety of concepts. It could be the first, or last, image in a story-telling series, illustrating the beginning, or ending, of a grand adventure.

I went to a funeral last Saturday. I did not know the young woman, taken much too early; her parents are friends of mine, so I went for them. I did not know her, but a real display of how far and wide she reached positively into other lives was the overflowing parking lot at the funeral home, and the standing room only aspect of not only the chapel, but the lobby as well.

I don’t know when it became a practice to show or display a variety of candid photographs of the deceased at funerals, but I think maybe the 90’s or aughts. The funerals I have attended were for people I knew, so the photos would have been familiar; I took less notice. This time, as I stood in line to speak to the family, and throughout the service, I watched a repeating series of those life-span photographs of a person I never knew, and it hit me all over again, the power of photography. I learned much about this stranger: she liked travel, and horses, and boats, she had close friends, she was funny and had a sense of humor. She was dearly loved.

For more photographs, go to https://www.billdurrence.com/index

St. Patrick’s Day, Savannah, 2023

Savannah, GA

In last week’s post, I talked about the extravagant, expressive use of color halfway around the world from home. Today’s photo is similar energy, but just a few blocks from my front door. Last Friday was the annual Savannah bacchanal, officially known as Saint Patrick’s Day, the premier public party event in Savannah. There have been years in the past when I started early and went late, but that was then and this is now. Barbara and I can stop by several friends’ parties for Bloody Marys or Irish coffee, plus breakfast buffets in the morning, wander the streets randomly sampling the never-ending parade, and be back home for a nap by mid-afternoon.

Because the March 17th Friday date made it a long weekend this year, and with beautiful, cool, sunny weather, I think most expectations were for a very large number of visitors and a rowdy crowd in the evenings. It seemed to be pretty quiet to us though, judging by the few numbers of drunks yelling at each other at 3 AM about who was supposed to remember where the car was parked, although there was one in particular I remember, hearing the near weeping relief when he yelled out, “I found it! I found it!”

Not comprehensive by any stretch, I did shoot some random scenes (somehow missing all the military and ROTC units) that I’ve posted as a new gallery, St. Patrick’s Day, Savannah, 2023. To see that, go to https://www.billdurrence.com/index/G00006PGSXuRa_cw

Bangladesh, 2012

Dhaka street scene

The streets of Dhaka are an open-air gallery teeming with rickshaw art. Subject matter may vary wildly, but one emphatic consistency is color. Rich, saturated color. In your face color. Color combinations that stretch one’s imagination about ways colors can be synchronized.

While I don’t think I’m dogmatic about general, foundational elements of art-making (but then,who ever thinks they are dogmatic about anything?), I do have some training and experience with the codification of things like design and color theory, and that inevitably influences choices I make. On color, I learned about the color wheel and how every potential/theoretical color (hue, brightness, and saturation) can be placed in a specific definable position. I used the Munsell Color System to create a three color mix to decorate a box choosing a primary, contrasting, and complimentary color selection, in diminishing proportions, based on their relative positions on the wheel. In hindsight, that all sounds more like an intellectual exercise than art, but it’s the sort of education that is useful if you can avoid getting caught inside the lines.

So, I have been inclined to work with color over the years in terms of contrasting and/or complimentary, with a kind of visual “weight” deciding the balance of volume for each. Several years ago I was planning some spring planting for my deck’s clay pot garden, fussing a bit over color combinations, when a friend said, “For gardens and flowers you can mix anything and it will work OK.” I relaxed, tried it; she was right.

Bangladeshis apparently apply that color philosophy to all of life, illustrated here by the young woman’s outfit consisting of at least four very different fabrics/prints. Coming from a part of the world where the standard pant is khaki, walking around Dhaka is like stepping inside a kaleidoscope. It’s a rich, vibrant, chaotic, fascinating, hypnotic visual explosion.

I have mentioned previously, I’m sometimes surprised to find how many people pictures I make without realizing it at the time. True, once again, in Bangladesh and here is a new gallery “Faces, Bangladesh, 2012.” Go to https://www.billdurrence.com/index/G0000mEaxYnNexwQ

Dhaka, Bangladesh, 2012

Buriganga River

“A still is a stopped movie.”

It’s funny how a simple comment can alter the way you perceive something. In any consideration/comparison of still and video photography, I usually think about how a moving image (video) is actually a series of still images, shot and projected in quick enough sequence that the eye/brain “sees” a moving picture. This opening quote suggests starting with the perception of motion that is then frozen, rather than going from still images that then create the illusion of movement.

The quote is from “Words and Pictures,” (published 1952) by Wilson Hicks, an Executive Editor for Life Magazine, and the book is Hicks’ look at how photography, photographers, writers, and editors work together to cover a story, some of it modeled on the way Life worked their teams, some of it a hope for photographers to become a more integrated part of the coverage team. It’s the sort of book at first I think I should have read many years ago, at the beginning of my career, because it talks about a lot of the things I learned through experience. Probably would not have mattered much in my learning curve, though. You can only absorb and understand what you are ready for, and knowledge is built in layers, over time.

I like the way the “stopped movie” idea mimics the effort to trigger an exposure at a peak moment, where the image is taut with the tension of what will happen in the next moment.

For more photos from the Buriganga in Dhaka, go to https://www.billdurrence.com/index/G0000Pf25lXK9vOc