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January 1, 2008

Winter Lights

This was a week ago: it so happened that while I was roaming the neighborhoods with my camera and stealing shots of twinkling facades, I caught something I shouldn't have. I had pushed in on a Christmas tree set square within the tungsten frame of a living room window and let the camera roll. For thirty seconds, or maybe a minute; a static diorama, one whose picturesque warmth and good cheer was in its sterility safe for the taking.

But then a shadow moved across the frame; a head, caught in passage between two doorways, then crossing back again into the living room itself. The camera rolled on. The happy image soured. There was a knife affixed to my lens now. This was exactly what I'd hoped for, of course, and now the actual implications of it quietly unfolded themselves within me. I was absconding with some private moment and, unable to share in it, compartmentalizing it for my own future purposes. What had been an innocently pragmatic endeavor - to photograph the seasonal decor now, so as not to have to stage it later - had distended into a sinewy voyeurism whose gilt reflected back at me things I'd managed 'til then to suppress. Why was I out there, in the dark, why on that side of all those windows?

I dismounted the camera and walked off down the street. I didn't telegraph a thing. The footage rests unloaded. That glimpse, those few frames have built themselves up in my mind, fortified themselves into something no longer innocuous. They won't be used. Rather, over the course of the evening, I conceived of a single image that could on its own convey so much more than whatever I might have juxtapose from the evening's purloined imagery. A single shot, angled upwards for over a minute, an arrangement of eaves and empty space. It will have to be staged. Christmas lights will have to be purchased. It will be perfect. So it goes.

Posted by David Lowery at January 1, 2008 2:51 AM


Arrrrrggghhh! I knew I should have gone with you. That's all poetic and whatnot--actually, really quite beautiful and quaint--but... But... BUT!! You know what I'm thinking! Eh. I've got lights and decorations and even a tree. And I'm interested in this alleged shot you've conceived.

Posted by: Adam Donaghey at January 2, 2008 12:58 AM