Looking through the lens, I dream with one eye open.
- Rebecca Norris Webb,
Slant Rhymes, by Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb
(La Fabrica, Madrid, 2017)
This week’s blog posting draws together three disparate elements, culminating in Project 179.
Bear with me while I explain.
Element #1: Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb’s new book, Slant Rhymes, arrived in the mail last week. A husband and wife team, the Webbs are skilled photographers who bring passion and intelligence to their images, ably enhanced by Rebecca Norris Webb’s elegant poetry. Slant Rhymes is a collection of their photographs that both transports and delights. Rebecca Norris Webb’s quotation, “Looking through the lens, I dream with one eye open,” has stuck with me all week.
Element #2: One of my favourite morning rituals is to plug an ear bud into my iPhone before getting out of bed so I can listen to CBC Radio Toronto’s Metro Morning. Matt Galloway, Metro Morning’s host, brings me up to speed on the news and weather and introduces me to some fine music. Last Monday, he played a scorching version of Old Flames (Can’t Hold A Candle to You) with Kesha and Dolly Parton from Kesha’s latest album, Rainbow. (YouTube link) Wow – what a great way to start the day! And as I listened to it, I realized I had found the piece of music I wanted for a slide show of my ‘people photos’ I was planning for the Prince Edward County Photography Club. Woohoo! I rushed out and bought the CD at the local Sunrise store.
Element # 3: Another one of my rituals (yes, you’re hearing a lot about my rituals today) is to phone my 97-year-old Aunt Jeanne in Toronto every Sunday morning. Yesterday, our conversation turned to the late Lloyd Thompson, an excellent Picton-based photographer who had a genius for black and white portrait photography. For many years, The Picton Gazette featured Lloyd’s “Portrait of the Week” – an ongoing tribute to this fine photographer. Aunt Jeanne reminded me that in 1976, The Picton Gazette published at Face Value, a collection of Lloyd’s portraits, which in turn reminded me that I had a rare copy of the book packed away in storage. After our conversation, I rummaged around and found the book – and what a delight it was to savour it again after several years. I had known many of the people featured in the book - seeing them again was both poignant and emotional. The difference this time, however, was that I was also looking at them as a photographer myself, which led me to admire Lloyd’s work even more.
How do these elements all tie together? And what does Project 179 have to do with anything?
Let me explain:
• I love photographing people – my version of dreaming with one eye open. I think Lloyd Thompson would understand.
• Old Flames is a great piece of music that has 179 well-defined beats in its 4 minutes and 26 seconds.
• I went through my photo files and chose 179 images of people – one per beat in Old Flames.
• And – presto! – through the magic of iMovie, I’m combining these 179 images with the music to produce – I hope – a fast-paced slide show that should be great fun to watch. Alas, I won’t post it to my YouTube channel because it will have copyrighted music and a few images of children.
So, with tips of the hat to Rebecca Norris Webb, Lloyd Thompson, Dolly Parton, and Kesha, I offer the following sample ‘people’ images from my Project 179 slide show. Enjoy!
Spencer in Sydney, 2007
Clown Doctors, Sydney Children's Hospital, 2010
Lindi and Denis, 2017
Art Gallery of Ontario, Professional Model, Photography Course, 2017
Shriner Camel Rider, Milford Fair, 2016
Loyalist College Photography Student at Fuller Native & Rare Plants, Belleville, 2016
St. Kilda Beach, Melbourne, 2013