Recently I began carrying my Leica around with me, recording small everyday moments. I think about Cartier-Bresson and his idea of “the decisive moment” when I have the Leica in my hands, and realize that my tendency veers more toward “the indecisive moment.” I approach the scene more slowly than he did. Forever missing that moment when the world in front of me comes together as a “picture,” I take the photograph anyway because it is the “thing” in front of the camera, not the picture, that interests me.
In the series called Plenty, I present the entire proof sheet, or in some cases passages from the proof sheet, as a single image. Constituting a kind of diary, they record specific occasions and prosaic moments in a particular privileged life: a family reunion, a birthday, a walk in the country; a meeting with students, a consultation with the Dean; a meal shared with friends, a visit to a museum. Running through these quotidian narratives are signs of more troubled histories: failures and disappointments, financial struggles, substance abuse, mental illness, premature deaths, even murder are also part of the picture that is the “plenty” of this life.
The litany of the everyday is presented in the context of a larger frame—“nature” or “city”. In combining multiple, prosaic images with these singular, more dramatic views, both the picture stories of Life magazine and the sublime single images of Adams and Weston, come into focus for me as equally important. Each needs the other. The grand view, pried loose and isolated from the friction of the everyday, becomes sterile, a pretty picture with no history. At the same time, this “larger picture” proposes a distance, a place to stand and contemplate the quotidian, diminishing its grip and suggesting it be viewed, with all its small triumphs and tragedies, without regret.