Houston Center for Photography

I grew up hearing the adages “Take a Picture, it will last longer” and “A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words”. One is a punchy challenge for people staring. The other, is probably closer to real wisdom. Yet, as I contemplate what all to include this week, I am thinking that I may not reach a full thousand words.

Our location this week is Houston’s own Center for Photography, located in Montrose on West Alabama. They showcase various exhibitions of some really talented artists who create in the shared medium.

The birth of the popularity of average (and moderately affordable) consumer digital cameras before the advent of cameraphones arrived as I was pretty young. While I later invested as a young adult in more technical equipment, I was able to snap rough photos every so often with the point and snap digital cameras.

Even at the advent of personal digital photography, I relied more on disposable Kodak cameras when I was traveling. Yes, the more affordable and replaceable cameras whose photos were a mystery until revealed at drug store pickup. The same ones that would allow you to trick the flash and if you weren’t careful, would allow you to slightly electrocute yourself with the single AA battery charge misfiring when you tried to disassemble them. Back when we routinely and collectively printed and catalogued photos in hardbound albums. I am sure that I can meet that 1000 word minimum if I follow that rabbit trail. I’ll spare that full nostalgia for another day.

When I was in high school, I envied the artsy kids with digital Canon Rebel cameras that they invested a little extra in for a custom camera strap. If I am honest, I had a big crush on one particular girl in that era who carried such a camera with her everywhere she went. Had I developed the proper jargon, I might have effectively pled my parents for a Canon Rebel of my own. Yet, it seemed out of reach financially for us and I wasn’t holding down a job at that point to buy my own. So, while I probably never had a chance with that said individual for a multitude of other reasons, I am positive that it wouldn’t have happened over a conversational shared passion for photography. I was hopelessly uncool, but I think we all were in our own ways.

The track this week is Guy Clark’s “My Favorite Picture of You”. The song details the songwriter’s favorite photo, a candid polaroid that captures an otherwise insignificant moment in time. The story for the song’s inspiration arrives from a photo of Clark’s wife taken in the late 70’s after a late night of a songwriter’s shenanigans. The polaroid portrays a woman with her fists clenched, arms crossed and visually unimpressed.

The song hits a specific pulse that I think is representative of some of my favorite pieces; otherwise insignificant moments gaining importance upon further review. Retrospective is a powerful magnifier in that time and distance provide context we might overlook otherwise.

The album of the same title won Clark the 2014 Grammy for Best Folk Album.

I love the Guy Clark version of the song, but also would like to shout out the Wild Child and Willie Nelson covers, respectively. All three are unique takes that share a common familiarity. They perfectly capture moments, maybe otherwise deemed insignificant, but when compared years later to one another might provide a powerful retrospective on the same story from 3 points of view.

Admittedly, on a personal front, the past few weeks have been a bit rough for me. New career growing pains, a car accident (All are fine, but repair has been a hassle) and remaining vehicle issues have me somewhat stressed. I hope that as I wrap up this week, I remember to smile and in a way that I will be able to have that retrospective about the many other things to appreciate and be grateful for.

So, let’s be candid. Let’s be considerate. Let’s look out for one another, y’all.

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