Sunday, January 13, 2013

The subject that wasn't

A couple of years back I drove from the Black Hills of South Dakota where I was on a climbing trip through Lead, pronounced Leed,  past Deadwood and into Cook County,  Wyoming to see Devils Tower.  In actual fact, the visit to South Dakota was for others in our party to climb.  I gave up climbing for Lent.
Devils Tower, itself an iconic climbing destination, was on a tick list of places I’d wanted to photograph so I made the jaunt northwest from Rapid City.  As often happens when you have a specific subject in your sights an unexpected one intercedes.  The happy accident takes hold and your intended objective fades to dark.
Such is the case with this tiny schoolhouse on the windswept plains of eastern Wyoming.  I can’t name the town because there is no town on Highway 24 between I-90 and Devils Tower. 
At precisely the moment I stopped to photograph the school I had a lens malfunction that caused a soft focus effect. The softness and imprecision recall images from the early days of photography and which are now being emulated with cheap plastic cameras such as Holgas or Dianas.  So despite my predisposition for sharpness this ephemeral quality brings an emotional dimension to the image.

9 comments:

Jim Rogers Photography said...

What's that age-old piece of advice about what do to when Life hands you a lemon. You make lemonade. And you've taken a malfunction that many would consider disastrous, and turned it into a wonderful photo supported by fascinating copy. Good job, my friend!

Daryl A. Black said...

It was so good to read your text about your intention to photograph Devil's Tower and instead being hijacked by the beauty of the school house. It is such a gift and great lesson for photographers when the intended and ultimate subject matter diverge. Our luck that you were open enough to let it happen on this trip.

Steve Immel said...

Thanks kids. Your kind comments make this thing worthwhile.

John Farnsworth said...

Bravo, Steve. I hope you kept that lens. Sharp has its place, but so does soft. That reflected light, probably from a tin roof, is to live for.
John Juanderlust

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