Monday, August 3, 2015

Sometimes Everything Becomes Poetry

All artists know the feeling. Being in the zone they call it in sports. if you're a photographer, everything looks like a great photograph. If you're a poet everything becomes poety. Now, I'm not a photographer at all, but I know what it feels like when everything seems like poetry, but for a brief time for one summer these two art forms fuzed together and for a brief time I started seeing poetry in the combination of words and images on street signs, Chamber of Commerce banners, advertisements... everywhere. particularly I started seeing instances where what the person was trying to say was negated because either the words or the picture had opposite meanings or connotations. here is an example of what I mean.

The Rockford Chamber of Commerce seems to have a unique talent for putting its collective foot in its own mouth. For an entire summer this banner flew on the State Street Bridge, which meant thousands of people saw it every day, including me every time I crossed the bridge on foot. It became funnier and funnier to me every time, and eventually I decided I had to do a series of Poem Photographs to illustrate how words and images can sometimes oppose each other in unintended and humorous ways. Here's the second thing that caught my eye and led me to get out my ancient flip phone to take a photograph...

This is less a trick of an angle than the way it really looked due the placement of the sign this is all I saw every time I walked past to the gas station to buy milk. There was drama when I took this picture as a lady walked up to me and asked me what I was taking a picture of. I told her it was none of her damn business and continued to take the shots I needed for the project. I'm glad I got this one because I always wondered if anyone else ever saw it the way I was seeing it, or how funny it was that what I'm sure they meant came across as an advertisement for the Apocalypse. There was more. I sensed I was about to depart "the zone" as suddenly as I had entered it when I "wrote" this poem.

After that I figured my days as a photographer were over. And I was right. It was time to get out. I never felt that way about the combination of words and images again. Never felt the compulsion to run home and get my phone so I could take a picture of a sign I thought might not say the same thing the next time I returned. 

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