Bones of the Past

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When you record your journey through life with the lens of a camera you tend to see things a little differently than those who do not. Your perspective narrows or widens, zooms in for detail that others pass over, and sees the patina that the passage of time imposes on our surroundings. The moment becomes a scene frozen and captured along the path we travel. For many of us who photograph, this process is not a deliberate act where we reason it all out beforehand but a reaction to what passes before us. The light and dark of sun and shadow literally slip by us in a blur of motion that is the continuous movie playing constantly in our lives. For those of us that document this passage there is a need to stop it, to record it because the image you are seeing at that moment is too beautiful to allow it to disappear and there is too much to see for our memories to hold it forever. Unless we find a way to preserve the special moments we see there is a loss and that loss is unacceptable to me.

This was never made more real for me than while riding the Narrow Gauge train between Durango and Silverton, Colorado where we slowly passed a spur siding where old, out of use railroad cars were parked. It seemed as if they were waiting for time to complete their transformation from needed to not. As that thought was forming it became apparent to me that image, that feeling, was already receding from my view as the train moved us forward and would soon be gone forever and I quickly, reflexively, grabbed the shot. The entire episode, the viewing, the recognition, the reaction, all happening at the speed of a slowly moving train would have been out of my mind as soon as the next interesting thing entered my view. But because I feel the need to save those moments and was able to record that view I am transported back to that time whenever I look at this image. There is also the added benefit that when others see the picture they get to share in the experience as well. All in all it makes this job I do worthwhile.