May 09, 2012

Photo of the Week: May 9, 2012

“Photography, alone of the arts, seems perfected to serve the desire humans have for a moment - this very moment - to stay."
-Sam Abell

HOW I GOT THE SHOT:  For the first time since I started writing this blog, I am resending a photo I originally posted in January, 2008, before many of you joined my mailing list.  The location of this peach orchard is very close to my home and I have returned there on numerous occasions for portrait shoots and to relive the beauty I found there on that March day in 2006 and many times since.

Last month, at the height of the spring blossoming, I scheduled a photo session there and arrived to find the entire orchard had been cut down. Where the robust trees had stood a few days earlier, they now lay in neat piles, the beautiful flowers still in full bloom upon their branches. Immediately, something stirred in my heart, and after a few gasps, an awkward explanation to my subjects and a quick reshuffling of priorities, I completed my assignment.

Later, I began to reflect on why the scene had upset me. I am well familiar with vanishing landscapes, places whose visual grandeur is limited to a single season. I also understand that this land is used for commercial purposes. I don't know whether the trees had outlived their economic value or whether shifts in other agricultural markets warranted a crop change.

For years this has been one of my favorite photographs and an exhibition-size print hangs in my office above my desk. Now that irreversible change has set in, I realize  that my connection to this spot has as much to do with my success there as a photographer as its inherent beauty. And therein lays the potent power of photography. A photograph seals our relationship to a moment in time and place and the act of capturing that moment in a picture also makes it more special. We do our best to resist change but only a photography enables time to stand still. Or so it seems.

TECHNICAL DATA: Nikon D70, tripod mounted, manual exposure, evaluative metering mode, f16 at 1/125th sec., ISO 4800. Raw file converted to Jpeg. Lens: Nikon 28-105 mm zoom at 28 mm.  Date: March 29, 2006, 4:19 p.m. Location: Bat Ayin, Gush Etzion.