(short, not sweet, always a photo)
Like a lot of people, I felt muted by the 2016 election of a most unqualified, undignified, unenlightened, unintelligent man to serve as the President of the United States. For a while I remained quiet. Full of despair. As I began to shed the despair, I found a voice, mostly in agreement with journalists and others writing about the election. I’d add a few words to a Facebook post of an article or a reTweet.
But I could not write anything of my own. Not a short story, not an essay, not even a journal entry. I could access the minds and imaginations of others, but not my own.
So I turned to photography as I often do when words flee.
A few months before the election, I had begun a self-paced online photography course. So I returned to the syllabus, thankful for direction, some guidelines. A map. One of the course readings suggested finding a theme for taking photos.
I know myself well enough to know that I don’t work that way. Not in my writing (I write; figure it out; rewrite), and not in photography (I shoot and shoot and shoot and hope something emerges). Nonetheless, the shots are my eye, my frame. So there is naturally a kind of theme. Sometimes I can name it.
With the help of a friend who made the comment, “Fire and water,” about the red leaf below, I was able to articulate what I had been seeing in recent photos.
Things that remain beautiful though dead in the water.