These photographs are, ostensibly, different: a blue, shuttered used-clothing store; a blue car parked on a street and a bank in the background; twenty blue Adirondack chairs scattered on a spacious green lawn; and, a blue-and-white-striped restaurant facade.
In each but the photograph with twenty chairs, windows figure inside the frame. The bank and car have windows; both storefronts do. But none is there to see through, as if transparent, none is what a photograph once was called, a window into the world. Instead, the windows are covered, partially blocked, or opaque.
Looking at the used-clothing store, I can imagine a story for it:
A twenty-four-year-old man standing in front of it. He’s just walked a few miles into the small city, because he needed food for a week, a new pair of Nikes. Maybe he wanted to see people, though the city looked deserted. Weird. He didn’t want to make friends, that would happen, he didn’t want to make things happen, because the right thing would come along. Fate. He relied on chance.
An abandoned clothing store sat lonely on a side street, shut down tight and shabby. There was something sad about it. He stood there for a long while. The blue painted storefront kept everything hidden. No interior life. Funny, he thought. Blue is a sad color. A kitten emerged from a hole in the wall, or from nowhere. And he picked her up. Tiny, she meowed. I’ll call her Blue, he thought, and put her on his shoulder. He knocked on the door of the store and then on the window, and waited to hear movement inside. Maybe someone still lived there, and this was her kitten.
This isn’t what the photograph represents; still, I could pin the narrative to its surface, like an ornament. There is no inherent story in the photograph, other than its composition. Read More