Happy are they who see beauty in modest places. ~ Camille Pissarro
Beauty in modest places? Yes.
I went for an early evening walk in downtown Tucson just before I left Arizona to return to the Midwest. I was in a strolling mood, noticing architecture instead of desert scenes, and enjoying the many sights, the people leaving their workplaces, but with no rush to get anywhere. Rushing isn’t such a great idea when the thermometer hovers near the century mark.
I found beauty in the deep color of a textured wall, a red-earth color so appealing, I had to stop and not only photograph it, but touch it. Run my hands along the roughness, the ridges. That red, to my Midwestern trained eyes, was a Red Rock color, one of those desert colors that sang songs of the Southwest to me.
And then there was the purple-gray of the wooden window sill. So purple, I wanted to inhale its purple-ness, a purple so perfectly etched in my past that it grabbed a memory from my youth and held on tight. It was the purple-gray of grapes fully ripe, grapes hanging in the arbor in my grandmother’s back garden. It was the dusty purple of grapes waiting to be plucked from the vine.
As I studied the contrasting colors, the memories came visiting. I was in the arbor, picking grapes just like my grandmother picked grapes — a handful for the pail and one to pop in my mouth and savor. I looked at the window frame and imagined my grandmother’s presence in the reflection, picking grapes just a few steps from where I stood.
When I went through my May photographs, I stopped as soon as I saw this photograph. The day I took this photo was etched in my mind. All of my senses were on alert that day, intent on remembering a city that I would soon be leaving. The touch of the red-rock walls. The song of the Southwest. The scent of ripened grapes on the vine and the taste of sweet juice. And a sense of connection with loved ones, long gone.
Photo. Heart. Connection. Oh, yes!
I’ve long understood that when I carry a camera, that mere act heightens my sense of seeing. And now I’ve come to realize that my camera and photography can offer me another gift – the awakening my other senses, too.
Bo Mackison is a photographer and owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC. During the first week of each month, she re-visits her photographs taken the previous month, searching for THE photograph to post as the photo-heart-connection photo. Bo is always quite thrilled when that special photograph finds her.