Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Reflections On Time

Time as a subject in photography can be conveyed in a number of ways but in the photographs selected for this publication they may not seem quite so obvious. While the intent of these images was not about time, it has managed to become what these photos represent to me.

The photos of the bridge by Lake Pontchatrain are on the surface about the more formal aspects of the photographic image: the composition, the interplay of light and dark, reflections, water, repeating forms and so on. The catalyst for making the images was, however, about how in the autumn in New Orleans, the quality of light changes as the season changes. I always look forward to this time of the year, because it always brings new opportunities to see the environment in a new way as the air becomes clearer, and shadow lengthen along with the shorter days.

The photos of the construction of the Crescent City Connection, the second parallel span across the Mississippi River, was about the monumental shapes and forms as they began to change the city landscape, but the underpinning for these images was about a new chapter in New Orleans history offering increased traffic flow between both banks and a transition to a more modern city. The old bridge was no longer adequate; the time had arrived for another to make us more efficient.

Finally, the photos of the urban cityscape are, on the surface, about contrasting architectural styles and scale. The real context is how the functionality of our buildings has changed as we have moved through the years. In the modern era, they need to be bigger, less ornate, a grander sense of scale that diminishes the human scale to serve the bigger corporate need.

In the course of a photographer’s career, the meanings of photographs change as well. Often, the photographs are made simply because the photographer is responding in a particular way to what is in front of him. The real reasons are often elusive, obscure, hard to fathom and not readily apparent. When going back to view one’s work, time becomes a prism or looking glass to another set of associations that inhabit us as we move through the phases of our life. The world and our time spent on it has a particular nature when experienced as a young person, when viewed from the perspective of an older person, it makes one pause to try and comprehend how fleeting our time is and how quickly it seems to slipping away.

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