It is a time to celebrate unexpected delights.
And to help me put this week’s photographs into context, I’m calling on the American poet Ross Gay. He teaches writing at the University of Indiana and is the author of The Book of Delights, a wildly engaging collection of 102 mini-essays on the topic of delight. His ability to elevate the ordinary into the profound – and, in turn, to then make that profundity accessible is a joy to behold. If you are looking for an articulate book that examines the complexities of delight without reducing it to a Hallmark card cliché, this book is for you. Be aware, however, that it can be a challenging read – more nuanced than the title suggests. In particular, his essays about the racism he experiences as a black man are deeply moving. Highly recommended. (And available for ordering from Books & Company, my favourite bookstore, in Picton, Ontario. [pictonbookstore.com])
Here’s what Ross Gay says about delight in mini-essay #65, “Found Things” (pages 172-173):
Among the qualities of delight, I’ve found...is the feeling of discovery. The sense that one has found something, been shown something, perhaps materially, perhaps spiritually or psychically, that was previously unknown. Perhaps delight is like a great cosmic finger pointing at something.
In that context of discovery, I offer the following photographs, all made in Belleville in March as COVID-19 came barging into our lives. They are not conventionally ‘pretty pictures’. They are gritty and unapologetic. The objects in these photos feel no need for human categorization or approval. They know what they are – and they aren’t backing down. Their strength and their resilience are remarkable.
I hope you find them to be delightful.
Larry Tayler Photography
Belleville, Ontario, Canada