Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Train Window (July, 1997)

Taken on a VIA Rail train, between Halifax and Montreal.

Sometimes after I create a set of images, it takes a long time for particular pictures to "grow on" me. There are usually a number that stand out immediately, some that seem to have turned out but are not spectacular, and always a few about which I feel "neither here nor there". Some images from the last category have become my favourites, over time, simply because they involve an odd camera angle, blur where blur is not expected, or some combination of elements not usually seen as aesthetic. For many of these images, the pleasure I derive comes from knowing the serendipity of time and light required to "capture" something unplanned in such a way that it becomes an image; there is additional enjoyment to be found in discovering that seemingly accidental and ordinary elements can combine to evoke not only a delicate aesthetic, but also a mood or atmosphere unique to the circumstance in which the photograph was taken.

For me, the above image falls into this last category; there is something about the the line of the window at upper left combined with the suspended reflected square in the centre, the way they are strung together into a compositional zig-zag by the wire and the road. At first I viewed those as intrusive elements--a landscape shot from a train window was not meant to "reflect" my being on the train, for example--but over time I began to see them as changing the nature of the image such that it might actually "say" something more about place, movement, relativity and viewpoint.
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