People walk by and drive by this spot every day. People look at these aging strip malls and want them replaced with something new and shiny. How far in the future do we have to be to look at what was new and shiny and want it gone because it makes us feel bad. How far in the future do we have to be to see it as a piece of history?
How beautiful it can be in the fog at dawn.
I’ve worked hard to find interesting things in my town. I’ve gotten up too early or stayed out too late. But the more I shot, the more attached I become. The process of looking is sometimes the process of loving.
Well, it’s not from the X-files, of course. It’s from Rotary Park in Ajax. The glow at the top is not from a spaceship or a helicopter, but from the moon. The glowing light in the background is also not a spaceship or Area 51 or anything like that. It’s the water treatment plant.
At least that’s what they claim…
I didn’t quite drop everything for the fog. Not quite. I thought I should finish this damned kitchen sink installation thing. I thought I should probably feed the kids. But the pull of the fog is a strong one. It’s hardly ever here and doesn’t last long and I’m no good at shooting it yet. And while I wouldn’t say I resented the interferences, I would say I was quietly aggravated. And when Sobeys didn’t have any more whole chickens left, damned if I was going to go grocery store hopping.
When I shoot, there is a high load of energy and anxiety in equal measure. There’s a freight train in my head and it leads me. I don’t feel the cold of my hands, the scrapes or bruises I collect, wet feet. Someone happens to me. Just one more. Just one more.
Then there is the anxiety of getting caught shooting someone’s home or a plaza security guard chasing me off, the boogey men in the night when I shoot at night (I shoot a lot at night), the jerk surprise blaring of a horn (why do people honk when they see me shooting, I don’t get it), the sudden appearance of pedestrians right behind me that I didn’t see coming. And this thing about getting back home. And taking up time. Damn, I forgot my phone! Shoot, it’s 3 in the morning already. I’m sure I’d shoot better if I was calmer.
But there is this other thing, this freight train inside, driving me, something amped up. Go. Go. It’s like increased awareness. Like heightened living. Along side of the anxiety there is this other thing. This excitement, this giddiness, this joy in the capture. And it always takes longer than I think it should and always longer thanI think it actually has. And I’m there. As present as could be. Just one more. Just one more.
It takes its toll, naturally.
After, I am completely exhausted. Physically and mentally. I don’t know what I’ve been doing with myself to be this tired. I wonder why I do it. I’m not sure why I like shooting then. Or if I actually do. Especially this night business. I like the light. I love the sun. Why do I do it? Some days I can’t even be bothered to really look at what I got beyond reviewing the images on the back of the camera. Getting the card out of the camera and putting it into the camera, starting the apps and all the seems like too big of a chore.
Later, when I have a quiet time to myself, or maybe as a treat to myself, I’ll look at the shots. This is a different thing. Like a secret thing. But calm. Measured. Like a sleuth. Sometimes, often times, there is at least one that demands my attention. It’s not always the one I think it’ll be. Sometimes it takes time to discover it. The onslaught of images to sift through sometimes causes me to overlook a diamond in the rough.
This is one of them. I remember this sequence of shots very well. The fog was starting to disappear but what was left of it was starting to settle as low lying mist. I was caught by the soften of the light. I had to get back home and I was in conflict. But I couldn’t let it go. I remember now why I shoot. I look at the disasters you’ll never see and think about what I can do better next time. I lovingly treat the images that I like even just a little. Little gems, little jewels, little gifts. Just one more. Just one more.
This series is about the joy of fog. For a moment close your eyes. Remember back. Way back.
Remember what it was like. That excitement.
The quiet. The shrouded mystery. The slight apprehension. The brooding atmosphere. A certain kind of blindness. Your world transformed.
And why was the fog everywhere except just exactly right where you were? Why was it always just out of reach?
You might not even be alone. But you were very alone.
And in a few hours when the sun came out everything was burned away.
The future is mysterious. We can hardly even imagine who we will be by then. We think we have arrived. We don’t think we will change. But we are not done yet.