I was about the seventh or eighth grade as I remember, and I was over at Leonard’s house listening to old 78 RPM jazz records. I had not yet discovered photography. What does this have to do with fine art photography which is supposed to be the subject of my blog. Be patient, I’ll get to it.
First you have to know who Leonard is. Where to begin? Leonard was one of those people that other people never seem to get. At the time of this incident he was about fifty years of age. He was married with two boys that were close to my age. They didn’t get him either.
Why on earth would you use an image of a rose to open a blog, you ask, that starts out with I was born and raised in Athens, Texas a few miles west of Tyler which is my current home? Well, have some patience.
My family were pottery people. That heritage goes back at least five generations before my dad. At one point in history, in the early 1920s, there were seven large potteries in the state of Texas; all owned and operated by members of my family.
I had the privilege of performing with a big eighteen-piece band a few days ago. This is not new to me, I have been performing with bands of various sizes most of my life. However, recently it has occurred to me the huge number of thoughts that go through a musician’s mind during a performance.
How loud am I? How loud is the band, the trumpets, the bass, the saxes, and the trombones etc.? Are we hitting the beats together? Oh Yeah! That was great, the trombones played that phrase just perfect. Great accent there. The trumpet soloist is working some great ideas. Wait, I’m not “right on” with the bass. Crap, he’s right. I’m slow. Ah, there we go. Etc. etc.
Something about the leaf being in it’s death cycle intrigued me. The backlight coming through the leaf caught my eye as I walked past.
I was in a pensive mood so it reminded me of my own life cycle. Growing old is a pain in the… well actually it’s a pain almost everywhere from time to time. Anyway, I was thinking how God designed the leaf to grow, help nourish the parent plant of which it was a part, live a little while and then die. In dying, this particular leaf turned a beautiful dark yellow then fell from the tree to turn an ugly brown.
I decided that I wasn’t going to let that happen. I could picture in my mind a backlight micro art photograph. It would make an interesting subject and I could preserve the beauty for many years to come. The leaf had fallen from the branch and was available to be moved, so I moved it into the studio.
There she was in all her old glory. She was worn, ragged, and with a few cigarette burns. She looked tired. As soon as I saw her I was flooded with old memories of hundreds of nights on stage performing old Rock and Roll, Rhythm and Blues, and country songs for audiences that loved the music. “Old Brownie” is a Gibson Hollow Body Guitar that my friend Larry Stanley played for hundreds of gigs back in the 1970s and 80s.
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