Secret Garden

Summer is just around the corner!  It’s Memorial Day weekend, and all the signs of summer are starting to dust of the winter’s, and this dreary spring’s, cold and come out.  It was a beautiful day today, the pools were open and busy, and the sun was shining.  I’m glad that it’s finally that time of year where it is socially acceptable for me to go to the beach (even though, I would go any day of the year, winter/summer/blizzard, you name it)!  And believe me, with the cold, blustery, snowy winter we had, I’m ready for some beach escapes!

Don’t let this weekend pass you by without remembering it’s true meaning, however.  It may be all fun, cookouts, and swimming, but thank your service men and women, and pay respect to those who sacrificed to protect us.  With my grandfather passing earlier this year, I’m thinking of him this weekend.  He served in the Army during WWII, and I’m lucky to have had him around for so many years, to have spent time with him and the family, and to get to hear his “war stories”.  Thanks Gramps.

So, now to change the subject, abruptly….

Yes, the summertime weather is finally starting to show up.  As I was thinking of what to do for this week’s theme, I got a call from my parents.  Like I’ve said before, they enjoy birdwatching, so I often like to tag along and check out the sights, see some birds, and see what else nature has to offer in the little spots they frequent.  One of the places is actually right down the street from their house, and isn’t what you would think of as your typical “nature photography spot”.  It’s a parking lot.  Granted, it’s a parking lot for an agricultural research library, located right next to the government farms (where goat man lives), and also has a charming little pond and field on the same area of land.  When they called, they said they had just swung by the park(ing lot) after picking up dinner, and could not believe how many lightning bugs were there.  I grabbed my camera (to which they scoffed, saying it was too dark for me to get a picture), jumped in the car, and headed over.  Sure enough, I was not disappointed when I got there.  The picture I caught is lovely, but it’s nothing like seeing it in real life; the trees, bushes, and field were all twinkling as if they were lit up with Christmas lights — it was like nothing I’ve seen before!  I mean, I remember our backyard being filled with lightning bugs when we were younger, but this was like a lightning bug invasion!  It was so enchanting, that it gave the impression of being in a secret garden.  Though we weren’t in a secluded place, per sey, it’s like a little oasis in the middle of our city, and the lightning bugs definitely added to that effect.  Though this may not be a direct translation of what a secret may be, I like the meaning behind this image, in that it’s from our secret family nature viewing spot, and it has the charm of a fairytale type garden.  And to my parents’ scoff — they may have been right about taking pictures of lightning bugs.  I got it, but it was tough, even with the long exposure, and took a little editing on my part.  So enjoy our secret photography spot, with complimentary lightning bug invasion, and secret garden feel. Be sure to give it a look at full size, too, so you can see all of their little lightning bug flashes 🙂

Week 20: Secret

Secrets….they’re interesting little things, aren’t they?  Some can be of a good nature, calling themselves surprises and providing a little mystery to life and bringing joy.  Some can be unexpected events, curveballs, and the things camouflaged in everyday life, being much more esoteric in nature.  In the same respect, secrets can be deceiving, perhaps calling themselves lies at times, and causing harm to others, as well as it’s keeper.  It’s incredible how one little word has so many meanings.  Even more incredible is that keeping a secret is an action which can have so many different reactions.  Will I divulge some of my “secrets” with this week’s theme?  I suppose you’ll just have to wait and see…

I find myself returning to a few themes in my photography, one of which is love.  However, I never cover “love” in a conventional way.  Sure, you can capture some really darling images of a couple walking hand-in-hand down a beach at sunset, but that’s not the point of view which I like to take.  I often look at love from the point of longing, wanting, desires, loss, and more recently, the unrequited.  Unrequited love is really quite a different type of love all on its own, and an incredible secret.  In examining emotions one would feel while experiencing it, I’ve tried to capture some images where the “lover’s” pain is evident.  Seemingly meaningless actions by the beloved can have such a great effect on the lover, and they may never know they’re causing this snowball of internal emotions.  There’s turmoil, euphoria, despair, obsession, and devotion swirling within one being on a constant basis, all the while another lives their life completely oblivious to it all.  Hopelessly hopeful.  Seemingly meaningless actions are being over analyzed, bringing false hope, while other meaningless actions bring incredible depression, convincing the lover that they will never have a chance to be with their beloved.

One of my favorite images of such emotions is derived from a meaningless action completed by another. A photocopied image of someone’s hand.  For most, they would just think someone was being a slacker at work, and entertaining themself with the copier.  From the perspective of the unrequited, however, it could be a countless number of things: a sign, a message, a chance to hold something which they may never have a chance to hold in reality — an extended hand.  Now, trust, I have control of my actions, and am not an irrational, obsessive person, but when I received this photocopy, and really started thinking about it, I couldn’t help but to pose as the unrequited.  Coincidentally, this occurred just after completing my first darkroom experience with photograms.  Since, as a class, we worked on photograms on the same day, which just so happened to be Valentine’s Day, I focused on an unrequited love theme for those images as well.  I think as a group, though they are visually very different, the meanings and intentions behind the images work very well together.  One expressing the physical, and the others expressing the emotional, imaginary, dreamy state which those hiding the secret of love may feel.  So as I think of another way to tell a secret for this week, enjoy these examples of the greatest secret of all; the unrequited love.