I’m a late comer to all things it seems…and this certainly applies to social media. Making my way around the constant influx of information is overwhelming most times. But as I have found with flickr, photo-sharing websites like Instagram have such outstanding opportunity for learning, growing and inspiration, I finally jumped in. I found Henry’s excellent work by a stroke of luck. His soul bearing honesty and emotive images and words have the ability to resonate with all people regardless of gender, age or ethnicity. When I viewed his image of the park bench in the snow, it went straight to my soul. Its quiet strength as an image of minimalistic beauty and integrity captured the winter mood like a prayer. It reminded me of Burk Uzzle’s photograph, “Winter Park” which I have loved for many years and so I commented to Henry that I would love to have a print of it and was elated when he graciously offered it to me. I offered one of my images to him as well, and we ended up not only trading images, but stories behind the images as well. When Henry chose my image of an abandoned house, I felt compelled to tell him the backstory because the impact of that day’s shooting had left such a lasting impression on me.
I had found the house on a shooting safari one day and I brought my husband back to the house and homestead so we could both shoot it as I knew he would love it too. When a Jeep pulled up alongside us and stopped, we were pretty sure we were in trouble for shooting on private property, but the farmer driving the Jeep told us he was the caretaker for the homestead and asked us if we would like a tour of the place. We were thrilled as he led us inside the houses, barns, and the smokehouse telling us the entire history of the family that had lived and worked there for so many years. When we walked up the stairs of the main house, we were told that we were going to be shown something that he was pretty sure we had never seen before in our lives. He unlocked a door and looking in, we saw an albino deer stuffed and mounted on a wooden platform. He told us that this deer was one that he had shot many years ago and had named him “Prancing Snowflake”. It was a completely surreal moment. The farmer told us his story about the deer; how he had first spotted it and found the perfect opportunity to kill it. He explained that the deer was afforded a dignified death with a single shot rather than being chased down and cruelly tortured by other hunter’s dogs. I was mesmerized, horrified, entranced and disturbed all at the same time. I do not know anything about hunting but I became witness to his reverent, almost spiritually transformative experience that this animal’s presence in his life had brought to him. I was challenged to suspend my disbelief at the scene before me, and enter into this farmer’s reality of a time when he nobly saved a beautifully doomed creature. A creature that will remain forever alive in his world.
Admittedly, my reason for photographing isn’t for others, but for me—processing my way through this world. With that said, I was more than honored that Dawn, that anyone would want to bring one of my photographs into their space their home, their life. I still, honestly, wonder with each IG post or print, if anyone sees what I saw. Choosing one from her body of work was so very difficult, but I ended up seeing this seemingly abandoned home, insistent in it’s refusal to be anything other than beautiful.
I hate winter, always have. However, the snow makes it bearable—one of those times giving me a childlike feeling that I missed when I was a kid. The night before, I had set my alarm for 3am in hopes of getting some low-shots of the snow falling. After capturing a couple, the snow was stopping and I headed back home. The next morning I noticed that it had snowed much more and in fact still snowing. I walked around the corner where there is a park—nature meets city and capture this bench. I always feel like I’m on hallowed ground when I’m the first one to scar the newly fallen snow. Kids were not yet out sledding or couples creating moments, just me and the bench, both waiting for more inviting times.
The beauty that one found in another’s photograph was nothing compared to the reaching, the sharing and the holding of the other’s story. The connection.
We’d like to encourage all of you to give this s try. Breakthrough that virtual wall of social media. Let your work and your voice be what it’s intended for, a connection. If you already reach out or decide that you want to and will, tag them #ourcollectiveshare. We’d love to feature such happenings and connections.