Thursday, 12 June 2014

Deja Vu

So if anyone reads this can you let me know?

Actually maybe I don't want to know that you know and then wanted to let me know. Maybe I want you just to scoop up the words and images and hold them close to your chest and slink quietly away. Is it possible to blog and have the words simply fall into the interwebs unread? Is it possible I got to the age of 45 without doing anything remotely noteworthy or worth the skin I'm wrapped in or the pain of my birth? Who knows. What I do know is that blogging is a hell of a lot cheaper than therapy so here I am.

Despite all my attempts to find something else I'm really good at, what I do best is take great photos. I'm going to post one or two a day and tell you their story.

On my mum's 70th birthday last year (2013) I got up before dawn and went down to the surf beach to wait for the sun to come up, intending to photograph the sunrise for her. The day was droll and heavy, thick clouds lined the horizon looking just as I felt. There was no real promise for any kind of a light show but the day could not be repeated so I waited out the time. I walked down onto the sand and took some snaps. 

This was taken about 4.30am and it didn't really get any better; I stayed until the sun managed to poke above the clouds an hour or so later then I went home, had a birthday coffee with mum and Stan and headed to work. It was an important birthday for mum for many reasons, not the least of which being we knew this would probably be her last one. 

It wasn't until I looked at the photos that I realised I had stood in exactly the same spot quite a few years before and taken pre-dawn photos; this time not for mum but of mum. In April 2003 I had walked with mum to the beach before dawn and shot a series of portraits of her for a university assignment. These were shot on black and white film then developed and printed by me. They came out gritty and raw, but with a freshness that will just never exist in a digital image.

The best of these, and the place doppelganger for my 70th birthday image, was an image that uniquely captured my mum's personality and joyful spirit. When I overlap the two shots in Photoshop the ghostly image of mum jumps off the screen and makes me wish I had taken her to the beach that morning of her 70th birthday. 

For me, right now and probably always, this is the most important photo I have ever taken.

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