Sunday, July 22, 2007

The Underdocks

The more I shot in Bass Harbor, the more I realized that the beautiful sidelight was the province of one pier only. My shooting trailed off into small objects that happened to catch good light, and I became aware that the only way to shoot a wider canvas was to relocate. Fortunately, directly across the small bay from Bass Harbor is Bernard. From there, my back would be to the sun, and I would be looking head on at sunset-lit Bass Harbor.

Once in Bernard, everything was gleaming in warm sunlight and I was interestingly disoriented and found a whole new range of subjects. Every photographer is always in danger of carrying his experience of a place into the images he shot there. I may recall the sound of the gulls & the waves or feel the tempo of change as I look at my image, but you have no such memory to resonate there. If the photo is intended as a document to jog memory to recall time spent somewhere, that's not a problem. However, if the goal is to capture a mood or experience and convey it whole to others who weren't there, the image needs to be resourceful in calling up sensations to fill out what has been lost in "translation."

Compositionally, this image is not so comfortable as the last, and I do wonder if it works for anyone but me. In framing the shot I wanted to minimize without eliminating the material world. Though I was aware of places where the image meets the edge in ways I would normally consider fussy, this seemed as I took the picture and still seems to me now to be the correct place to cut it. I'm certain one can't get it without caring about the underdocks, or, perhaps, as noted, it is just for me.

Below is a second alternate version of the image. Viewed small the difference will not matter, but it becomes substantial when clicked to full screen. I'd be interested to know if anyone has a preference.