We were dropped off on our final day of the Utah workshop in the ghost town of Cisco. Our instruction was to find an Image that spoke to the remoteness and the harsh realities of living in the West.
Most of us could not relate to this harshness. Our camera gear alone had more monetary value that what we were seeing. I was stuck by the poverty while walking and looking around. Then trying to get my mind around how could anyone like myself ,who pays $3 for a Starbucks coffee, even ‘get’ what it would be like living in this seemingly hopeless environment.
My walk and thoughts came to this chain-link fenced-in house. My initial idea was influenced by a photographer I admire, Jay Maisel, who likes to shoot chain link fences. So I set up my Nikon 70-200 and framed my image and then at 200mm I saw this Christmas Santa perched up on the white shelf beside an acorn pineapple (an icon for ‘Welcome’).
While in auto pilot mode to set up my camera, I was mindful of this reality and questions started to float in, ‘How did this Christmas Santa get there ‘?, ‘Did some little girl put it there before she had to leave the home ?’ Then, I thought of my blessings, for my now grown, once little daughter who did not have to go thru such a trial of neediness. Christmas toys and attention poured her way and yet here in Cisco, Utah this small person could only dream and watch on TV that type of prosperity.
For this image, I was truly in the right spot as the sun was just setting and the light was temporarily falling on Christmas Santa. I think this Image found me. I put some image harvesting skills to work, knowing that I would work the dimensions of fence to house and depth and focus when I returned home in the digital darkroom. I’ve held onto this image waiting to share it with you for Christmas 2011.
Let’s remember our blessings, rejoice and Merry Christmas everyone ...