Demanding Memory

I love photography and I love seizing the moment.  So when it was presented to me at the B & H Infinity group that the next assignment was to photograph a memory, that really intrigued me.  I consider myself a street photographer, always trying capture an image on a more spontaneous basis.  Sometimes that feels a little like fishing, always hoping to hook the big one, getting a few keepers and some you just throw back.  It was truly a new way of thinking in terms of my photography.  This approach felt more like a planned hunt.

Of course images and moments start to flood your brain.  Three immediately popped into my consciousness.  But what would be the most interesting to shoot?  I knew immediately what I wanted to do.  And I would develop my images in black and white tinted with sepia.

When I was a teenager there was a small cemetery that was down the block from my home.  It was the Lawrence family plot, still is I guess, and it was very scary and foreboding.  They have since cleaned it up.  The fence back then always had a split somewhere so vandals always got in.  Big kids partied inside that place.  Truth be told, I had a little envy of what I considered at the time to be their bravery and coolness, I was too afraid.  Kids…

So I set off to purposely capture the memory of apprehension.

 BIRTH

BIRTH

Next to that little cemetery was “the trestle”, a foot bridge that spanned over train tracks.  On the other side was an abandoned lot where kids hung out at the deserted end of the train yard.  I never got the chance to go there at night.  All the good action was happening after 9 and I had to be home.  

The image is peering through the railing of the trestle, looking at that area of intrigue.  What was going on down there?  What did I miss?  What didn’t I get to do and what was I saved from?

 YOUTH

YOUTH

Now the trestle itself always was a little eerie at night.  My aim was to get a sense of danger of what’s waiting on the other side.  Hope against hope I wanted to photograph someone climbing the trestle, capturing just the moment as they were under the lamp at the top of the bridge.  I saw this person going up the stairs - I had to shoot fast, there weren’t going to be many chances.  I managed to get 2 photographs but the one below was just what I was looking for.  Where are is she going and is it safe?

 LIFE

LIFE

Whenever I was on the top of that bridge I always stopped and looked in both directions, west towards the city and east towards Long Island.  I remember imagining what life would have in store when I got out of this place.  Life has many crossroads, like train tracks that can take you in any direction.  Where are we all going?  I still ask myself that question.

 DECISIONS

DECISIONS

Since I do love to do abstract pans, I thought I’d try some on the top of the trestle.  I wanted to see the pan shot next to the straight shot and I really liked the juxtaposition of the two realities.  This might make an interesting series and I plan on working on this concept in the future.  

In the context of my memory it seemed an appropriate ending.  Life taking off - going faster and faster into the light and dreams of the future.  We are always changing course,  just like train tracks.  Click, one direction, clack now another, not ever really knowing the ending.  But as long as we are going into the light and towards our passions, life is good.

 INFINITY

INFINITY

What I found most interesting in doing the assignment is how much I actually enjoyed photographing with a sense of purpose and emotion.  This is something that I will forever be thinking about on my photographic journey.

Susan Marie