american truck stop, oakland, california
The One I Didn't Let Go
I cannot remember if I was on my way somewhere or simply cruising around in the golden hour, as I was wont to do with camera and tripod. When you have making photographs on the mind all the time, when it's what you do with the major portion of your time, then you see opportunities everywhere you go. Often as not you are behind the wheel when they sit up and say Hello, here I am, take me! Several split decisions burst in your head at once. Wah! That looks great. I need to stop. Should I stop? Break my forward momentum. No. I can go back later, I know where it is. But it will never be the same as it is now. The Moment is now. Are you truly devoted to photography? C'mon stop! Damn, that scene just looks perfect in the rear view mirror. Geeeeeeees......
And so it goes.
Often as not I would not stop, so propelled by the momentum of my car journey, my destination, my plans. When I did though I found that the ideal image I just clicked in my head while driving, as it flowed into my short term memory bank through the windshield and across the rear view mirror was not entirely how I saw it when I got the car parked and had my camera equipment in hand. Somehow the relationship my senses had with the scene had changed. The angle was different, the bits and pieces of the scene difficult to entangle, just nothing as straightforward as it had seemed.
Idealisation is a sort of optical illusion to the mind's eye. It constructs an ideal picture of what you thought you saw heavily influenced by the prospect of not being able to possess it. A desire unfulfilled. A psychological phenomenen that i'm sure has been studied and i'd be interested in reading. When you don't stop, you carry on, and it will be another great one you let go. The mind is like a rear view mirror, and it all looks great as it goes away.
This one didn't though.
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