el matador beach, malibu
the ocean is angsty today. churning & brown like dirt & dried blood.
the wind blows me about like a strip of burnt fabric.
the sea birds eye me warily.
I’m wary too. raw like the charred branches left behind as skeletons in the most recent fire. I let the salt waves slip over my feet—healing I think.
I have three crystals for my heart. I let the ocean cleanse them.
may the salt purify our wound.
I walk back to my car barefoot, picking around the broken glass & sharp edged rocks. I am sharp. I’ve broken off a long forgotten bottle. the soles of my feet anticipate the prick of sudden pain. I keep walking.
I remember walking barefoot & sandy alongside the rocky road between the beach & my grandparents cabin as a child. tired & parched from the cold sun. my skin pinked from the chill of pacific. the solitary cold didn’t bother me then.
In my self-directed photography studies I find much overlap between photographic concepts & poetic concepts. I make notes as I read:
Photographer Robert Frank said that when people looked at his photographs he wanted them “to feel the way they do when they read a line of a poem twice”. I think there must be some fundamental link between photography & poetry. After all they are both a type of image making.
The etymological meaning of the word poetry is “something fashioned or made” which seems to me to be exactly what a photograph is as well. Richard Avedon said; “All photographs are accurate. None of them is the truth.”
When you freeze a moment, either in words or pictures, you make it into something unto itself. It’s not life but it’s also not not life. A simulacrum of being?
Perhaps poetry was the first kind of photography—before the camera existed. Suspending moments in blank air.
We make a poem to understand what words can do. We make a picture for the same reason. “I photograph to find out what something will look like photographed.” - Garry Winogrand.
“I see poetry as the medium most similar to photography… or at least the photography I pursue. Like poetry, photography is rarely successful with narrative. What is essential is the ‘voice’ (or ‘eye’) & the way this voice pieces together fragments to make something tenuously whole & beautiful.” - Alec Soth