the photoshooter's journey from taking to making

AFTER-IMAGE

Old friends, or echoes of the old friends that once filled them. 1/320 sec., f/2.5, ISO 100, 35mm.

Old friends, or echoes of the old friends that once filled them. 1/320 sec., f/2.5, ISO 100, 35mm.

By MICHAEL PERKINS

WITHOUT GETTING TOO OVERLY OOKY-SPOOKY, I believe that photographers are witnesses to, well, ghosts. Specializing in the visualization of what might be (as near as our next frame), we are also retro-witnesses, or mediums, if you will, using found objects to call back the spirit of things that are no longer here. “If these walls could talk”, we instinctively remark as we walk into Notre Dame, Independence Hall, or Ellis Island, and yet, we think we are merely being poetic when we utter that phrase.

Are we?

Objects give up their secrets slowly, and in these posts I have often gone back to my fond desire to resurrect at least the essence of the owners of those objects, re-capturing people in the things they held, kept, cherished, wore to pieces, loved to death. We use every atom of our imagination trying to inch forward toward some revelation yet-to-be….a way to will a picture into being. But we are surprised to find ourself also trying to conjure forth echoes. And yet some of the most moving portraits we can produce show no people at all. I’m sure you have found this to be true.

Somebody's rest spot..but whose? And how long ago?

Somebody’s rest spot..but whose? And how long ago?

For reasons I don’t quite understand, chairs resonate especially for me. They’re personal. They’re social. Deals are struck in them; stories are told, babies are soothed, pauses are taken, contemplation occurs. Lives pass.

For you, it might be other things that are left behind, but still ringing with the echoes of people. Books. Clothing. Cars. They can be anything, but whatever their strange stories, you can often hear them, and that makes them far from “empty”. Cameras record everything that can be seen and lots of things that can only be sensed. They may be only machines, but in the hands of dreamers they are divining rods.

Your houses are haunted, and in a good way.

Call the spirits forth.

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