Friday, March 30, 2007


You might not have noticed me. Or perhaps you did, but I'm guessing I was last. Though that certainly wasn't always the case. Once, not so long ago, I stood out, I was in the limelight, I was noticeable. Now most people just pass over me. Except, of course, for one glorious afternoon. I had resigned myself to accept the solemn nature of my situation when a face appeared right before me. Caught off guard as I was it took me a bit of time to actually see the features of this creature. The gargantuan proportions startled me at first. But once I saw the leathery skin crinkle into a bright, near toothless smile I sighed a breath of relief inside. I saw that this old and sturdy frame, while obviously much larger than myself, was just like me. You see, I used to have 13 petals.

I was bright white and every petal was perfectly positioned. Now only a remnant remains of the brilliance I used to have. But I must narrate from the beginning. I was one of the first of my kind to appear in this desolate place. Between two rocks, in a hard place. The ground dry and unforgiving, the sun stifling in its power. It was a bit lonely at first, before there were others like me. Though I existed before the others I did not look much different. Until I lost my petals. One night, as I was settling in, the sun floated just above the horizon casting a pink glow on all that I could see. The air was warm but the breeze carried a hint of the chill that the night would soon bring. The tiny sound of granules of sand and dirt shifting about echoed all around. It was a sweet and familiar sound. I watched the sun sink below the sea of pink and felt the breeze grow stronger until the warmth of daylight was soon lost. The sounds I was so used to gradually took on a new tone and there was something unfamiliar in their melody. I tried to crane my neck to see what it was that added these foreign notes to the song I was so used to. Though I could not see anything I was now aware of something spindly attaching itself to the neck I was trying to maneuver.

It was not unlike the appendages of the eight-legged visitors who danced with me while trying to catch their prey. Or the tacky mesh they blanketed me with on occasion. This did not happen very often, but it was nonetheless a sensation I was accustomed to. Though it was well into the night the moon was full and it illuminated my surroundings with its gentle glow. My thoughts were preoccupied with guessing just what kind of small creature it was that had just found its newest playground. Slowly, however, the idea that this was no small creature kept nudging itself into my mind. The thin and delicate bristling felt so similar and yet I was becoming more and more convinced that this was something different. All of the others had already dozed off otherwise I would have inquired with them. As I attempted to contort myself to determine the identity of this new friend its presence retreated. It was but a second or two later when I felt several sharp tugs at my crown. A dull ache followed and the gentle wind felt differently, more extreme. Those alien sounds that had added their tune to my familiar lullaby gradually retreated and the evening’s song had become a faint prelude to what was to come.

It was not until the sun rose that I would learn that creature had stolen a part of who I was. As the others sleepily raised their faces to the dawn I began to hear small gasps. I do not know if it was them or if it was the wind, still active from the night before, singing through the rocks. I ignored the uncertainty and enjoyed the transition from the glow of the moon to the bright warmth of sunrise. I had come to enjoy watching my shadow begin as a lanky line in the earth, slowly shrink until the sun shone down with the entirety of its power, only to grow again, as lengthy as in the morning, trailing behind me over rocks and pebbles. Typically, I welcomed my shadow with eager excitement as it moved closer and closer. But today I did not look the same. As the grey image of my fronds came to greet me I was baffled. I tried to study myself quizzically but the fear and confusion that were gnawing at me refused to depart. I refused to give in to panic. I saw what had been stolen from me the night before. I felt debased. Humiliated. I felt pain.

With time I grew to accept that I was different from the others. Though I knew as well as they that I was no longer like them, our interactions with one another gradually found their way back to what they used to be. But I sensed that there was a more delicate balance we were all trying not to disrupt. I now sought desperately to avoid my shadow. I was robbed of the relief that night may have brought with her. She now instilled fear. I grew to accept this as normal and uncovered tricks to divert my attention until the night had passed. I had even learned to greet my shadow with apprehension rather than despair. My life continued in this manner until I was greeted by that ancient, kind, rugged face; my first exposure to the fact that it was not just me who had pieces missing. Whether it was this fact, or that I was noticed first, before the others, for the first time in a long time, or if it was the simple kindness in those soft gleaming eyes I do not know, but something about this presence brought warmth into my life once again. I had become as cold and brittle s the rocks chipping around me. But on that day that all changed. I saw myself as unique rather than unworthy. Exotic rather than exiled. Cherished rather than chastised. I once again felt the warmth of the sun and danced with my shadow. Not to say the pangs of doubt and fear were banished…they were curbed. I will never know why that creature in the night picked me, instead of one of the others, without…picking me… What I do know is that while I still wish I numbered 13 instead of 4, I am not defined by 4. I am not a number. I do not need to be, nor do I need to be noticed to have significance. So, if you did pass over me, know that I am not bothered by it. I have replaced the agony of self-doubt and overly introspective thinking with the enormously entertaining hobby of watching you. And, when noticed, I smile as brightly as I can so that if you have pieces missing too, you will know that you are not alone.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

A new deal

Exciting times here at the Curtisgallery. We will be taking a new approach to this whole "photo thing". One of the things that I (the photographer) enjoy so much about photography is the process through when I decide what to capture. I always get mocked when I describe it as "listening to what the landscape is saying", but dag-nab-it, that's what it seems like. As I engage a space, it just seems like there is something specific that catches my attention, and as I spend more time with that small bit of the landscape, I begin to uncover something special.

Because of that, I have teamed up with a writer (my wife) to have a fictional story created to accompany a photograph (published weekly). We will work together in finding a "spot" that we both connect with, I will document it photographically according to what captivates me, and then a story will be crafted entirely inspired by the final photograph. I am very excited to see how these stories develop, and what new life it will breath into the photos.

A big part of this process will be getting feedback from you. How did you like the story? Did it touch you? How did the photo inspire you? We would love to hear how the story and photo inspired you. Enjoy!