Here in Coastal Maine, as anyone will tell you, we haven't really had a spring this year. It has been cold. Period. We've had a few hours of glorious sunshine, but not the kind of slow, golden afternoons that warm your bones after a long winter. And mostly we've had more than our fair share of rain, clouds, fog, drizzle, and mizzle. I took these photos in Falmouth down at the town landing on a rare sunny afternoon, and then I processed them to look a little like 1970's postcards. I always loved the overly saturated colors of postcards when I was a kid. They were like real life, only in Technicolor.
The sky on the day I took these wasn't actually very blue. It was more the slightly bluish-white of bone china. The shades of blue you see here I added, which made me feel deceitful, but also a little god-like. There were people at the landing on that day: a mother playing with her young daughter, a woman beach combing, a fisherman in his boat, several men on a building site. I avoided capturing any of them in these shots because I wanted the images to feel a bit lonely and moody.
Photography, like writing, is a manipulative art form. When I teach writing to students (which I do a lot of, if you are ever looking for a writing tutor or coach), I like to remind them that to write is to manipulate the perception of the reader. Since you have total control over what to emphasize and what to downplay as well as what to reveal to and what to conceal from the reader, you should think of it very much like how a photographer thinks of framing and processing a photograph. Everything--point of view, color, texture, mood, light, and so much more--is in your hands. What a thrill . . . and a responsibility.
Because my whole life is wrapped up in writing--and has been for a very long time--I think about small details everywhere I go. I look at the angle of a rooftop, consider the shape of puddle, and note the hemline of a woman's dress. No, that is an understatement. I obsess about these things. And now that I am an enthusiastic amateur photographer (who is beginning to get a few paying gigs), I obsess about such details even more than before. It's a lousy habit if one is to accomplish practical tasks, but it's a glorious habit if one is to craft anything of beauty or even interest. Ah, and that's just it. I didn't want to make these particular photographs beautiful exactly. I wanted to make them capture a certain mood, a certain angle of light and memory from about 1975. That memory isn't pretty or picturesque so much as it's intensely saturated, scrubbed with bright white sunlight, slightly blurred, and more than a little lonely. But lonely in a way that I rather enjoyed that spring when I was eight years old--and still enjoy now all these decades later.