Sunday, March 31, 2013

I never get tired of it

The church behind me used to be the Unity Church. I have taken dozens, maybe even a hundred, pictures of this church.

I am a creature of habit. For instance, I walk the same streets and take the same pictures over and over again. I'm aware of the repetitious nature of my walks. In fact sometimes I ask myself, "Do I want to take this picture again?" Sometimes I don't, but often, I do. Is that quirky?

Every time I walk past the Capitol, I think about the famous people who walked there once upon a time, like Walt Whitman, Abe, George, Thomas, John, Frederick, MLK, etc. Some days I look carefully at the ground, as if their footprints might still be visible. I love walking in their footprints.

Rhode Island Avenue was an Indian path long before L'Enfant incorporated it into his Masonic layout of old Washington City. People have been walking that path for a very long time. I love thinking about the layers of footprints beneath my ergonomic sneakers when I'm on that venerable street. There is history there.

Life goes by - so quickly, I'm discovering (as do all who live as long as I have). I can not grasp the river, but I can return to the same place on the bank of the river, or walk the same path next to the Capitol, take a stroll down Rhode Island whenever I'm in Dupont Circle. In so doing, I remember. I remember walks before 9/11, I remember my dog, I remember the people who walked here long before I arrived on the scene. I cherish these memories.

In terms of time/space, I can't go backwards, but I can spiral around in the dimension of space at least, put my foot where Walt's foot once was, where my own foot has been so many times before. I can point my camera at beautiful sights, push the button. I can't explain why, but this practice is soothing, like a meditation.

Gilbert Stuart (whose footprints are surely also part of the terrain) painted the same portrait of George Washington over and over again. He painted more than one hundred portraits of our first president, kind of amazing to think about. When I remember that, I figure my practice is OK. I'm in good company, at least.

It's rainy this morning but is supposed to clear up later. I'll set out then, walk past the Capitol. I'll take pictures, think about Walt Whitman's footprints. As always, I look forward to it.


I've taken this picture many times, but never with the One Way sign visible. 


ellen abbott said...

habits are soothing. they don't require conscious thought.

Steve Reed said...

I've often wondered the same thing about my own photography: Is it too repetitious? But it's expected that we develop our own styles, and our own ways of seeing the world. So I think repetition is fine. :)

Besides, your photos never fail to fascinate me. Every one is different. They may all have similar components but they are each unique, the sum total of your eye, the weather and all the elements that came together to form that moment.

Reya Mellicker said...

Steve your photography has changed drastically since you moved to London where shadows and light are somewhat rare. I love how your eye adjusted to that.

Paula said...

I'm the same way with photos. I went on a walk behind mom's house the other day but I only got about 20 yards before I came to a willow with little pussy willow buds and started taking pictures. I've probably taken a thousand pictures of that same willow over the last 4 years. For me it's definitely a mediation.

Reya Mellicker said...

Thank you, Paula. If I'm on a wavelength with you, then all is well.

You, me, and Gilbert Stuart. Yeah.