Thursday, September 17, 2009

eye saw mostly blues

Because now that I'm taking pictures again - I'm seeing shapes and colors everywhere - ravishing textures - swoony solids and shadows and contrasts. Which becomes frustrating when I don't have a camera with me or when I'm driving and can't stop (which is why being on bike is better).

Saturday morning we drove into the city for Middlest's cross-country meet. Leaving our corner of the woods and :

  • Half-grown calves, white, looking back over their bony shoulders, the early morning light setting the lines of their rectangular backs aglow
  • The horse lady - lean and lithe and what you want to call petite until you see the sinews in her arms and the glint of her eye - thick white hair cut short. She's sitting on her tractor in the middle of the road and the morning sun is buttering the swooping line of the jumper cables, the yawning hood of a green truck, her orange tractor, her hair, buttering the flat planes of the face of the man in a John Deere cap standing beside the truck, buttering the glasses and long fat curls of the round-faced woman beside him. All three turn and grin as we pause, "Do you-? nope, I see you've got all the help you need - "

We drive up and over St. John's bridge with its neo-Gothic swoops painted an icy green-blue and enter a section of Portland that's undergoing gentrification but still full of old-time shops in bright colors and also :
  • A young family biking together, triangular orange flag, the yellow-and-blue baby trailer, a swash of tanned back where the man's white shirt gaps up a bit
  • The sign for New Life Community Church of God in Christ directly above DQ's Drive-Thru BLIZZARD Here
  • In the yard of the AmeriGas place: different colored lids on the white lozenges of gas tanks
  • Large drums like search lights in several slightly different sizes up against a factory wall. The wall: pinkish plaster peeling to cream and tan
  • Three fan-shaped windows in the white garage door of a house painted deep cornflower blue
  • The boxed letters on the sign for ABC Oil Inc. in dark red on a square box of a building painted a pale mint green and the dark red window frames
And then, as we pull up to the cross-country course:
  • Ruffles of a lime green evening cape hung on black railing above a rocky basalt foundation, accompanied by four or five serious suit jackets - some kind of rummage sale, but it looked like a drama getting ready to begin
Middlest doesn't allow pictures when she's running - it steals her strength.  I try to comply.

Afterwards, we pass too fast:
  • Yam Yam's Southern Cuisine - a luscious purple A-frame with a purple sign - both sign and building completely and exactly the same true, purple-pansy, crayon purple
  • Two flat gray columns between which, beyond which, a wall of concrete blocks painted a deep red
  • An orange safety fence, its plastic grid twisted and torqued like the graph of some higher mathematics equation
  • The flat stenciled sign for the Fishwife Seafood Restaurant - red background, yellow body and basket, green fins of both sorts (fish & mer)
  • The gold background of a mural of a jazz musician - an attenuated and brooding figure - and his dark blue lapels, guitar, shades
  • Vivid turquoise Spanish tile on the roof of the white plaster Master Muffler against a periwinkle sky
Finally at the St. John's farmer's market I can get out and walk around.

Especially the blue shadows on:

And also:

Until my eye is begging for other colors.

Driving home:
  • Two fat people on a fat motorcycle. The bike is red - shiny and deep. She's in black pants, white tee with flapping sleeves, black helmet. He's all in black except for his helmet a dark Bing cherry red to match his bike. Black leather saddlebags with big silver rivets tracing a rounded rectangle. The only straight lines are the white cardboard package standing on-end out of a black stuff-sack behind her.
  • Multi-colored containers stacked double-decker on the train: primary red K-Line, blue HANJIN and green
The best pictures I ever took are some I only remember while hiking down from a tent site in the Colorado San Juans with an empty camera to buy film in Silverton. Nothing is as vivid still as those tiny violet-blue butterflies the size of a fingernail, the graceful arching spurs of the columbine the same violet-blue. The camera teaches my eye so that even when I'm not taking pictures, I'm taking pictures.

But I'm also dawningly aware how much a camera must leave out. Like how we really see: our flickering focus in and out, the wide expanse of green hills shaggy with Douglas fir, then sudden detail of the corner of a public notice curling up in the wind on the door of an old red barn. My eye rides the grid of window panes, hops from corner and corner - slides up and down the batt-and-groove planking before being drawn away by movement - leaves shivering on the maple and the fluttering shadow underneath.


Mrs. Organic said...

I cannot wait for your book, you capture such beautiful images. Your Farmer's Market is a true treat for the eyes.

When I come (and we will someday) I would love to go out on photo safari.

Emma J said...

Yes, let's. I'm looking forward to it already!

Lisa B. said...

I love love love your pictures. Beautiful! Including the hazy light of the bike-riding pictures from the previous post.

Will there be a book? I would buy it.

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