BootsnAll Travel Network

What changes and what stays the same?

   I’ve been pondering this question: What changes and what stays the same?   I don’t know that I have any answers, but I saw an exhibit of photographs that seemed to address the issue profoundly.  The exhibit has been collected into a book, Golden Gate, by Richard Misrach.

   This work is very much worth checking out, but I think I can describe some aspects of it well enough for you to resonate. 

   The photographer has a house up in the hills that looks directly toward the Golden Gate Bridge.  He marked the spots on his porch for his tripod, and, over a period of several years, set up the camera at the same spot and took pictures.  Each one is identified with the date and time, or time interval, of the exposure.  The composition has the bridge occupying a span of about the middle third of the horizontal distance, but it’s only about one-eighth of the way up from the bottom.  In other words, these are pictures of the sky.  Think Constable.

The weather in the San Francisco Bay area is extremely changeable.  Crystal clear to thick fog in a matter of hours, sometimes minutes.  Some of these exposures are series of two or three, taken only minutes apart, yet completely different one from another.

Others are long exposures at night, with the winking of an airplane’s lights creating a dotted line across the page.  Or, in the exposure of 8.26.99 5:47-6:15 AM, only the black sky and the streak of the moon setting, fading from clear yellow to orange then red and on to black.

I find that I keep coming back to this book of images, precisely because the “what doesn’t change” is so tightly controlled.  Yet the images themselves suggest that, even so, the end result is a wild profusion of complexity and variety.  And beauty, of course, beauty.

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