Sunday, 24 May 2020

Blog Post - May 24, 2020: "Being There"

Nothing terribly profound today. Actually, I’m returning to a theme I’ve written about before. 

Pierre Elliott Trudeau once famously quipped, “Luck, that’s when preparation and opportunity meet.” 

And Woody Allen once riffed on a quotation by the composer Richard Rodgers and declared, “90% of life is showing up.” (Rodgers set the threshold at 80%.)

Trudeau and Allen point toward a fundamental truth about photography – as a photographer, you have to show up. It’s that simple. You can have the best camera and lenses in town, but unless you’re actively clicking that shutter, no photos get made.

Which brings me to one of my favourite movies –  director Hal Ashby’s 1979 Being There, starring Peter Sellers. (See trailer here.) Based on the 1970 novel by Jerzy Kosiński, it is the story of how Chance, the humble gardener, morphs into Chauncey Gardiner, the man who unwittingly rises to the top of Washington society simply by showing being there. 

The parallels between Chauncey Gardiner’s inadvertent rise to fame and making photographs break down quickly, but I repeat the point I made above: unless you’re actively out there with your camera, the photographs will all be lost. Every one of them. Which is why you see me wandering the streets of Belleville with Edna so much these days – I’m actively showing up. Actively being there.

The photos below come from my pandemic wanderings. It’s their random quality that appeals to me. None was pre-planned. None was expected. It’s an eclectic collection, with no thematic connection...other than being at the intersection of preparation and opportunity.

So, my friends, here’s my advice for living: Prepare. Show up. And be there. Really be there. Oh, and take your camera. Enjoy!

Larry Tayler Photography
Belleville, Ontario, Canada

1 comment:

  1. I started keeping my camera within easy reach of the door a few years ago and now rarely leave home without it. Some of the photos I like the best are the ones I just happen to stumble upon, so I agree it’s good to ‘get out there,’ always with camera in hand. You inspire with your uncanny ability to find the colourful and the poignant, Larry.