For a long time I’ve been fascinated by what’s missing, sometimes to the point of not being able to see or enjoy what’s present, something I think we are all sometimes guilty of doing. I rarely take photographs of people or write poems about moments of satisfaction and completion. It’s always the empty chair, the abandoned shoe, the yearning to fill the cold lonely hours with the warmth of company or passionate purpose that eludes and misleads and vanishes too soon. The photo above was taken on a hike in upstate New York that I shared with a good friend and fellow poet. With the beauty of nature and sympathetic human company mine for the capturing, in image or verse, I came home with this one photo of abandonment, futility and expectation. What is wrong with me? As Robert Lowell once wrote, “my mind’s not right.”
who’ll know the cost of what is kept and what is lost?
I wish I could say I do this intentionally as an artist because I believe the world ought to see the negative side of things, but frankly, the dark side appeals to me for its beauty, not its need to be properly documented. I’m not alone. Below is a favorite photo by Andre Kertesz. I would like to do an entire series of images of objects created for human use that take not only their purpose and identity but their very shape from the human form they are meant to serve. It makes them look all the more useless when not in use.
This week I have re-connected with old friends and made some new ones. We all seem to be thinking a lot lately about what’s missing or not missing in our lives. Over the years, I have gained and lost many things. I have often felt that whatever purpose I was shaped for, I was not being used. But now I am going to focus on what’s present, and not what is gone or absent.
This post is dedicated to Marlowe the Cat (1996-2010). R.I.P.