Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Number 10

Amidst the surrounding noise and clutter, something quietly calls to me. I've heard these seductive whispers before. My eyes dart swiftly from side to side - searching for the voice's owner. "I'll be back in a minute. I see a photograph..." I say absently. Slowly I make my way through the crowd, moving toward the murmurs, not waiting for a reply from my companion. I slow down and become passive as I appoach, allowing my vision to be my guide.

"Don't be too long" she calls, knowing from prior experience that I will be. I don't hear her. The noise from the crowd diminishes as I amble closer. As I move forward, I hear nothing but the whispers. My camera swings up to my eye. How much closer? My inner voice becomes more urgent; my vision is clearer and sharper. Should I start photographing? A few more steps, I think. With this decision, I am now fully in control.

As I approach, the vision defines itself. I begin to comprehend what drew me over. I begin to see what has called me. Up flies the camera to caress my cheek. Shapes in the viewfinder fill my left eye, my right eye automatically closes. I have suddenly entered a quiet room which acknowledges no outside world. I hear nothing. I see and feel only what is in the finder. I know only of the photograph - even though I have not yet seen it. I check the camera's controls, turn knobs, and push buttons. I still do not see the final image in my conscious mind - but as I begin to work, I feel it even more deeply.

The camera calculates the exposure in various areas of the scene while I check the contrast range. The shutter speed is set. The aperture is determined. A little closer and a little lower I think, as I begin my dance. Click. Twist just so to move that into this corner, tilt a little to remove that light area. Click - Click. Check the focus. Click - Click. I gyrate in ritual passion - moving closer and further - higher and lower. Click - Click - Click. Tilting - swirling - moving as swiftly as the lines and colors move through the viewfinder. Click - Click - Click - the cadence quickens - Click - Click - Click Closer - faster Click - Click - Click. I know I almost have it -Click - Click - Click - Just a little more - Click - Click - Click. Click - Click - Click. Click - Click - Click. CLICK.

Suddenly - in a burst of euphoria - it is over. I feel a familiar touch on my shoulder. I hear her calling to me from what seems like far away, but what I now know is just behind me. "It's been 15 minutes already" she says.

The abrupt noise of the crowd suddenly annoys me. I feel as if I have just woken up. I shake my head in an attempt to clear it. I blink at the now ordinary scene. "Sorry - I didn't notice the time" I admitted - for I never know how long it will take. "But I got a good picture. Let's get going."

"OK" she says.

We walk away. I look back and listen with my eyes. The whispers are silent.