“Missed Moments”

After I had returned from living and working in the Middle East I yearned to see some rural areas here, so one day I drove out to a lake I remembered as a boy. It was a narrow two-lane highway twisting and turning lazily in the morning sun, a quiet drive with meadows of grass on each side and butterflies and solitude. As I was approaching what I remembered being the entrance to one side of the lake there was a fisherman’s “bait shop” on the left. It was such an unusual sight in the world today, a low, wooden building with two old-style gas pumps out front and huge, dried catfish heads nailed across one side, trophies from the past…Sitting just to the left of the front door was a wise old dog, a German Shepherd greyed with age who I expect had sat there for years. To say the scene was “iconic” is an understatement, it was a step back in time for me, to a world that did not exist anymore, and yet here it was, this jewel of the past that looked as if it had suddenly transported from the 1950’s or 60’s to the present day. I knew I had to capture this scene, but as I reached for my camera bag a truck pulled in to fill up with gas. I decided to drive down to the lake and on the way back I would take the picture. As things happened I drove past with other matters on my mind and when I remembered it down the highway I thought I would return another day. And when I did return a week or so later the bait shop had burned to the ground. It was charred and empty, the dog was gone, everything it had been for decades and everything it had meant to me, that I had seen in it, were gone…

Missed moments…there are other pictures I have missed but yet exist in my memories, times around the world in places that I had to be careful about taking photographs, about pausing, about being vulnerable. And scenes that developed before my eyes and disappeared before I could aim and shoot. I always wear my camera bag on my left shoulder and the camera around my neck, hanging down in front, even though it’s a heavy camera and big lens I keep it there, close, against my chest, with my left hand cradling it, always ready. And as I have mentioned before in this blog, there are images I captured but decided I didn’t want to see again, even though I will always remember them, the people and moments, I didn’t want the graphic recollection of the image itself, and so deleted them. A photograph is more then a picture, it records real people with real heartbreaks and torments at times, if you are doing documentary or photojournalism, it records real sadness, I have never forgotten that fact, and I believe all of the work I choose to show reflects a respect for the challenges people face in life in so many different ways.
I have learned to shoot when I see an image I want, and don’t hesitate…it’s why I named one of my primary galleries, “Éphémères : Moments fugitifs de par le Monde”, “Ephemera: Fleeting Moments From Across The World”  RG