Tonight I'm sitting here going through old photos on our computer. At first I was searching for old photos of "us" from when we first got married and moved in together. Realizing that those photos were transferred onto disk (and who knows where that disk is...), I began looking through the "reject pile" of photos. If I were to be honest, I would say that about 80% of our photos are shots that I've taken over the past few years that I am too embarrassed to show anybody. "Failed attempts at art," you might say. But that's fine, I guess.
What hit me tonight was how much I remember about every shot that I've taken. How much every image reminds me of exactly what I was thinking when I took it.
I remember this shot very well. It was two years ago and it was my first day with this particular camera. My mom had just bought it used from a co-worker of hers named Larry, and my parents were in town visiting for the weekend. It was a hot summer day. Blazing, in fact. You know, one of those days that makes you want to tear your skin off, it's so hot. It must have been nearing "trash day", because the air smelled of hot, smelly garbage.
Anyway, we were walking around Philadelphia taking our own "Mural Arts" tour. We were too cheap to pay the $20/person for an official tour, so we found a map online and followed it. During our walk, we stopped at this convenient store for some water and perhaps a bathroom break. As we were standing around, I remember looking over and seeing these circle locks (above) and the Pepsi circles and the Subway circle (on the right side). And I started making a few attempts at interpreting how those circles were hitting me so hard right then. After a minute or two, my dad--in his usual joking manner--started poking fun at me. "What are you doing?" At the time, I couldn't really explain it, so I probably made some wisecrack remark in return. But inside I knew that I was feeling something that, to me at least, felt profound and was trying to interpret what I saw/felt.
When I got home and loaded this and other photos from the day, I was pretty disappointed by this particular shot. It didn't give me that same feeling that I had and the locks didn't come out as clear as they should have.
But now that I've given the reject pile a little light of day, I'm looking at this shot with new eyes. Yes, it has it's problems. But it has some things that are really going for it too--the circles, the reflections, the overall composition (I think, at least).
At any rate, seeing this photo this evening took me on a little trip back in time. Back to a physical reality, but also back into an emotional memory. All those questions that I've been asking myself lately ("Why does music matter?" or "What's the point of photography and art?") seemed to answer themselves yet again.