Since I do not have any of my friend's images to use for illustrative purposes, I am sprinkling my own images here from the 2009 Catholic community street Procession of Saints in Philadelphia's Italian Market. The procession is a springtime fundraiser, patterned after the Italian May Day events. People carry or wheel platforms bearing statues of saints through the streets, while onlookers stick dollar bills to the statues' clothing or ribbons. (Also, this gives me a reason to publish these images!)
|Just a spring clean for the May Queen|
Which is not to say that cell phone cameras automatically produce art. Eric is an artist with a unique vision which the iPhone allows him to realize. I may go purchase an iPhone just because of his energizing, emphatic description of this tool that allows him to be so creative. However, I’m sure that I’ll never be able to make such photographs. I could buy an iPhone and visit Guatemala, but still never create images as good as his.
I did invite him to lecture to the Photographic Society of Philadelphia, because I think all photographers become energized when they hear other photographers discuss their creative endeavors. It makes no sense, of course, to run out and try to duplicate someone’s work, but seeing what other creative people can do may energize you in your own work.
If you're a photographer, it helps to have friends who are photographically inclined, supportive, and encouraging. I appreciated Eric's comment as we parted that he has a great deal of respect for photographers who tackle long-term projects such I have with cemetery photography. But then I began to think about it - is my cemetery subject matter just a “project?” Should I be looking to end it and find some other subject matter?
ref). Such self-examination as he describes is more easily said than done. I still don't quite understand my draw to cemetery photography, even after doing it for fifteen years. Maybe its just a draw to cemeteries in general, or simply death itself. I don't understand the reason yet, so I guess I'll keep the project going at least until I do. After that, I can re-examine my motives. In the meantime, I’ll just get that iPhone and see what happens ….
Eric Mencher's website with some examples of his fine photography
The Pleasure of Finding Things Out, by Richard P. Feynman (Amazon.com)
Italian May Day events