I like really old stuff. I have so much antique glassware my husband recently told me he thought we might have to fortify the foundation of our house. Hyperbole not withstanding, I have a lot. I like drinking out of glasses my grandparents drank out of. I like eating off of plates that were used to celebrate holidays and births generations ago. Though inanimate, I feel like my 100 year old cordials hold in their shiny molecules the sum of their history of wakes and weddings, birthdays and baptisms, conflicts and congratulations. This is my lofty goal for my photographs. Don’t get me wrong I am highly satisfied with accepting money for one of my photographs. After all, the generally accepted way to show someone you value their work is to pay for that work. But money comes and money goes. There are other things more enduring.
It is immensely gratifying to know that my photograph Oars hangs in the home of a family all of whom rowed for the same club. I hope it will hang there for many years and be a reminder of a time in their lives when they shared something special. I hope someday a man will point at one of my photographs and tell his children, “That’s me and your Uncle Leo the last year we rowed together.” I hope 30 years from now a grandmother will be holding her grandchild and saying, “Look at this! This is your mama when she was a baby. You look just like her.” I hope someone is displaying Glendalough Graveyard on their wall and daily sharing in my love of all things old and Irish. I hope, when my own daughter is my age, that she will be wrapped in the warm memories of her life through my photographs. I hope The Ten Faces of Madeleine will ease with humor the inevitable tension of the teen years. I hope someone is saying my landscapes remind them of home and that their heart clenches when they say it. I hope someone will gaze at the expression of agony on the face of their child in those last strokes of a race and say “I’m so proud of you for having the courage to do that!” I hope someone will pass on my work to someone who admired it often.
My lofty goal is to create something meaningful. I don’t think I’m alone in this. I think everyone wants to do something meaningful whether it is through our work, raising children, passionate activism, creating art or music, compassionate acts or volunteering. At the end of the day, we picture meaningful.
Tail of the Lake 2015
(1/320 Sec., f/6.3, 400 ISO, 150 mm)