May 12, 2015

Accidental Art

Next Sunday my mother will be celebrating her 80th year on this planet. But she doesn’t know it yet. Well, she knows she’s turning 80, but she doesn’t know she’ll be celebrating — we are planning a surprise birthday party for her. And no, I’m not worried that she will find out by reading my blog. My mother is old school. She is probably the last person on earth without an inter-web connected device in her home. We can’t even convince her to get extended cable TV. She is an analog woman in a digital world. She’s so old-shool she thinks calling my cell phone will incur long distance charges … But I digress.

To prepare for the party, I’ve been going through old movies and photographs (which I procured from my mother’s house) to make a video. A few of the still images jumped out at me as being exceptional in composition and mood. At least I think they are. Maybe my mind is fogged with family memories.

In any event, I call this post “Accidental Art” because I know that my dad, my mom or whoever was behind the camera, didn’t intend to make art when he clicked the shutter. He was just grabbing a fleeting moment.

All of these shots were taken in the early 60s. The cameras were simple little consumer box cameras — imprecise range-finders and iffy exposure charts. You never knew what you actually shot until you got the pictures back from the lab.

I present them because I think everyone has some that are similar — images that are intentionally shot, but unintentionally well composed. Thee are the gems in the old shoe boxes full of images in your parent’s or grandparent’s closet. They are the shots that will help tell your family’s story.

Find them. Save them. Scan them. Share them.

A shot from our family’s annual vacation in Weld, Maine — My sister Anne and me on a short hike:

Weld Maine — My cousin with Biff, the neighbor’s dog:
A boy and a dog

Weld Maine — The dock:
The dock

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