Isabelle is on a mission this week, documenting plucked leaves and park squirrels, friends and strangers, buildings and taxis alike all with my cellphone camera. I have to say, she’s a natural. I’m saying that not just as a loving father– while I’m certainly biased in favor of her work, she is showing an early flair for composition. My favorite is one of the squirrels, framed on three sides by barely-green plants as it looks serenely across a walkway. Maybe one day it will be called ‘an example of the artist’s earliest work.’ Maybe, maybe not– this week she loves photography, two weeks ago it was watercolors, and next week – or so I have heard – her art class will be playing with clay. Her artistic future is malleable.
Maybe it’s a sign of the times. Maybe it’s this changing era that makes photography so much more accessible– almost as accessible as finger-painting. No film and darkrooms necessary, not like when I was in high school; as long as you have your phone in your hand, you too can join the ranks of Ansel Adams and Edward Weston.
It’s not really like that, though– neither Isabelle snapshots nor mine, nor the vast majority of people’s, are museum-quality. It’s nice to have this documentation of daily life, however. I am not one of the people who will complain that we are too busy snapping photos to live. I’d argue the opposite is almost true. Ten thousand photos of snow and playgrounds and taxicabs and squirrels may let us, at some point in the future when we sit down and look back, reach back to a crystalized moment in time, captured in high definition. Looking directly at a memory like that is wonderful thing, even if the memory was of an ordinary day.
For those of us who prefer our photographs properly artistic, there will always be art. In fact, the New Haven Museum has photographs galore, including an exhibit by local artists who photographed all the state capitols.
So catch a Metro Taxi to the museum and take it in, and snap a selfie out front if you like. You’ll only live that exact moment once, after all.
Until next time,