Sunday, June 09, 2013

The sky opened and the earth shook

The sky has loomed large in painting and photography from the beginnings of each art form.  A dominant sky demonstrates power, scale and a mythic glimpse of the heavens like nothing else.

Big skies and empty deserts are natural collaborators.  They reflect each other’s vastness.   The Mohave among all deserts draws me and that attraction has been reflected here often.  Though all deserts share the attributes, if that word can apply to negatives, of an odd and meager human population, of abundant and desiccated icons of that habitation and a desperate austerity, the Mohave is more muy malo.  All deserts are inhospitable and forbidding but the Mohave is El Rey of badness. 

When we saw the monumental sky over the desert to our east we immediately got off the Interstate between Kingman and Needles, fingers crossed that we hadn’t missed the moment.  Getting the memorable shot, Ansel Adams and Henri Cartier-Bresson would testify, is often a matter of seconds and we had few to spare.   Adams, for example, claims he had a minute to take Moonrise Over Hernandez back in 1941 and that he didn’t even have time to meter.  Myth or fact, the tale illustrates a truth. 

You know that sky had to be special for me to stop.  I’m not, shall we say, much of a stopper.  That’s the burden of being an A personality I suppose.   But as a psychiatrist friend has often said, “We have therapies for this.”  And the therapy is stop for the damn shot. 

Has anybody noticed that the titles of my posts are often song lyrics?  And, if so, what’s the name of the tune from which this title came?


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