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July 11, 2007

Birds in Flight in Vancouver

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CameraPolaroid 101
Lens3 Element Glass
Shutter @ ApertureUnknown @ Unknown

My apologies for my absence. I've settled into my summertime routine of work and travel and not much at-home computer time. It's just been too nice to sit down, acquire and organize what I've shot. Although I haven't been posting often, I have been out shooting a lot.

I recently returned from Vancouver and decided to take along only my Polaroid camera. I love the Polaroid medium. I find it combines an elegant and interesting set of constraints to my photography which force me to slow down and think about a composition before I click and commit it to a three dollar antique piece of paper. As an added bonus it often works well as an ice-breaker for meeting people!

Walking around the Gas Town a group of us were invited to sit down and enjoy a performance that was part of a dance festival. I am remiss to remember the name of the piece or the name of the group that played—perhaps it was Birds in Flight by a Fujimoto Dance Theatre Company of Toronto?—but I do recall the majority of us seated on the steps of a building facing the dancers were at times more captivated by the actions of a small precocious child down in front of us.

From his mother's lap he would imitate the movements of the dancers. Sometimes he would make a mask out of his hands to imitate a birds face, often accompanied by little animal noises. Soon the excitement of the dance built to such an extreme degree that he reached his arms high into the air and demanded to his mother, "shirt, off!" Breathlessly, we watched him for his next move.

Boldly he stood and made a little mask over his eyes with his hands, his arms and elbows jutted out sideways making little bony wings of a bird. He walked slowly but intently toward the performance area. All eyes were on him. I raised my camera.


I adjusted my focus through the greasy range finder and composed the scene. I checked focus again and recomposed it. I opened both my eyes and checked for any obstructions. I clicked the frame...I clicked the frame just as a fat, oblivious man walked in front of half the audience and obscuring the right third of my frame. A couple to our left let out a whisper of, "oh, darn it!" on my behalf.

"I hate fat guys!" I quietly ejected.

The moment was over. The boy sat down and asked his mom to put his shirt back on. The photo developed and there was my fat man, as surprised by the scene in front of him as I was in finding him walking in front of half the audience. All in all it wasn't a bad photo—even the couple next to me felt that he added a second dialog to the photo— but I wasn't happy with him there. I fantasized immediately about erasing him from existence.

For a couple of evenings since I've been back I've been painstakingly removing him. I am much happier with him out than in. I'd love to hear what you think about this photo.


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