About a year ago we were participants in an online workshop with Andy Ilachinski, the upshots of which are still echoing in my photographic life, and the stuff I wrote still rings true when I reread it. One of my own personally-most-important images is at the top of the page of one exercise, and reminds me of an Encounter with Paul Caponigro himself at Home Kitchen Cafe a bit more than a year ago. Overhearing a conversation about photography next to me at the counter, I guessed that it must be Paul Caponigro who was saying that his son (John Paul Caponigro) did that digital stuff, but he himself was still using film. When his interlocutor got up to leave, my golden opportunity arose:
me: You must be Paul.
he: Who wants to know?
… (back and forth introductions)
me: I’ve been a fan for 55 years…
he: You aren’t that old.
me: One of your photographs changed my life
he: Oh yeah? which one?
me: (describes the soaped window, enthuses, fawns…)
he: There’s a horse in that one.
Exactly. And thus, in 1964 or so, I realized that it was OK to see, and to seek out, things that weren’t really there, shapes and forms that bloom from one’s imagination.
Yesterday I stopped at Drift Inn beach (which I’ve visited hundreds of times) on my way home from Marshall Point, and walked around revisiting the familiar array of rocks, and of course found some new ones which I duly photographed. It wasn’t until I began processing this one that I noticed the horse in the upper left quadrant:
I’d been drawn by an abstract pattern of light and dark, but now it’s impossible not to see the horse, and easy to imagine that the wholly imaginary horse called me over with a subliminal whinny.