What I See is not Necessarily What You’ll See

robert-frank_us-30-between-ogallala-and-north-platte_nebraska

So with rain on the roof and the most amazing NH fall colors waning; with the chickens in, the ducks, the sheep; with November so close and showing its pointed shoulders…why not? Why not a photo and five minutes looking at it? Robert Franks’s Nebraska, 1955…

  • Notice the mailbox and how closeup it is. It’s like the loneliness of this place is asking, Please, someone write. Send a letter.
  • And two trees? In what, 100 yrs. and but two trees?
  • But a telephone pole. Progress progress progress.
  • And how the vertical of the mail-box post offsets the vertical of telephone pole.
  • And the spacing of the house and outbuildings, checker-like. Does this reflect the builder’s personality? Exact, anal, conservative, a good manager…?
  • I keep looking at the mailbox’s letter drop. It’s like eyes. It makes a face. It’s a kind of signature of the life lived here: loved, hated, spent, lost, treasured, returned to, fled from…
  • I lived for a while in Colorado. These kinds of homesteads are common in the West. When you look in through a window, there’s stuff to see. Dishes and old magazines. Fox shit. If there’s a windmill, it creaks and you want no more of loneliness ever.

 

9 responses to “What I See is not Necessarily What You’ll See

  1. Just beautifully stated. Thanks. G

  2. I’m used to not commenting so I won’t. Much. That place is near where I’m from.

  3. richard.rwmoore@gmail.com

    Thanks Will. I love how you look at photographs.

    Richard Moore Photography http://www.RichardMoorePhotography.com

    >

  4. I love your analysis of the photo. What I noticed were the holes in the telephone pole, and I wondered who made them. Was it a red-headed woodpecker? Were those holes there prior to it being made a telephone pole, or are any or all of them new holes? Where are the other living beings?

  5. Guys, do follow Richard’s link. His work is both beautiful and original. He also shares Saddleback Mountain with me.

  6. I see a remarkable similarity between your Plough Monday painting and the photo. I like the way the driveway invites the viewer into a world of no TV or high speed anything. I prefer solitude so I don’t equate this with loneliness.

  7. The driveway as an invitation to solitude: that’s excellent, Susan. Is there space in the world for extroverted introverts? As in me? Maybe that’s why Saddleback Mountain farm exists.

  8. November with pointed shoulders… I liked that. The mailbox eye is disturbing to me because of its unnatural shape, which in a way defines the infustrial feel for the whole photo. My eye first caught the sad dry patch of ground in the foreground. Later, beyond that I saw the driveway which, for me, gives warmth to this scene. Perhaps because of its curvature, perhaphs because it is very personal: I used to ride my bike back and forth on a driveway just like that, or be pulled in a horse carriage and the grass in the middle would hit our dangling feet. And grandma would stand and wave goodbye at the driveway’s end.

  9. Thanks, Bee. I hope your guys are well.

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