Snap Shot

In Witch of Kodakery, author Carole Glauber presents the amazing life and photography of Oregonian Myra Albert Wiggins. The word “Witch” was part of Kodak ads, alluding to photography’s magic and charm, and certainly Wiggins beguiled her national audience. Her contribution spiraled beyond the camera, to that of artist, writer, and poet. She was a fearless, ambitious pioneer who believed that photography seeks “. . . to reveal to others . . . glimpses of this world with ‘God’s great pictures hung’” (53). What a lovely image: framing nature’s light and shadow so that people pause to look.

Some days I take a walk solely to snap photos of the spaces between branches, colors that zing, and odd-angles shapes. What I also bring with me is a mind humming with snatches of songs and lines of poetry that flow out as soon as I claim a subject for my iPhone.

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Bring me my Bow of burning gold:
Bring me my Arrows of desire
Ring me my Spear: O clouds unfold!
Bring me my chariot of fire.

— William Blake

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The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil . . .

— Gerard Manley Hopkins

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How warm a wind blew here about the ways!
And shadows on the hillside lay to slumber
During the long sun-sweetened summer-days.

— Trumbull Stickney

light tree

Light takes the Tree, but who can tell us how?

— Theodore Roethke

perfect rose

Deep-hearted, pure, with scented dew still wet—
One perfect rose.

— Dorothy Parker

My walks in the neighborhood (iPhone in hand) are not the adventures of an indomitable Myra Albert Wiggins, but more my curiosity with a final product. As I continue to read Witch of Kodakery, I see another dimension, very different from my need for closure. A photo, in the hands of the artist, possesses resilience. In the Foreword to Witch, Terry Toedtemeier writes that “. . . the plasticity of camera representation has been put to the fascinating task of recording, on the one hand, what the eye sees, and on the other, simulating what the mind envisions” (IX).

These words encourage me to seek out light and shadow, to focus, and to let verses spill out. What a discovery to realize that the technical image declares what I see and the poetic symbols invite me beyond.

Amen. Click.

4 thoughts on “Snap Shot

  1. Wow, it always makes my day better when I see you’ve posted.
    What beautiful photos, and, another favorite of mine, poetry. Together, inspiration!
    Thank you once again for your stimulating observations, a reminder of favorite poets, and a great book to look forward to reading.
    My son has taught me to see things through a photographer’s perspective, though I have a lot to learn. One thing I struggle with is the camera not capturing “exactly” what I see, but then often other dimensions come out and the photo enhances the subject in a different way. Another kind of focus….
    And your search for photos of the “spaces between” and shapes as well as color is a continuing passion of ours.

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  2. Good morning, Shirley. You will love “Witch of Kodakery,” a beautifully written book with photographs (and the stories behind them) a delicious treat. Let’s keep capturing beauty, one way to bring balm to Gilead. Blessings, best wishes to you and your son.

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  3. You are so welcome, Carole. I love your book. What a contribution you have made by writing “Witch of Kodakery.” The primary written documents and photographs teach me and take me to another world. My favorites so far “The Old Albert Barn,” “An Art Student’s Flat,” “***The Forge,” “The First Snow,” “Heimweih,” and “The Edge of the Cliff.” Wiggins’ absolutely stunning talent:

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