I realize this is not everyone’s idea of a good photograph, or a photograph at all. Admittedly, it looks more like a photogram. It really is a photograph, though, and also an example of how a serendipitous glance can translate a passing moment into an interesting image.
I was at Pierce’s Barbecue yesterday, on the outskirts of Williamsburg, Virginia. It was a little early for lunch. But I’m not usually within range of Pierce’s. So when the opportunity presents itself and there’s half an excuse for stopping by, I do.
If you’ve been there, you’ll know that the décor of Pierce’s is all about the colors yellow and orange. Over the years the place has expanded from a little shack with a window serving walk-up customers to an enclosed restaurant with an eat-in dining room and picnic tables spread around the lawn outdoors. But the colors have never changed. There’s probably a story behind those colors, something like Mr. Pierce having been compelled to adopt a color that would make his original barbecue stand hard to miss for tourists sent out through the woods from Williamsburg. Maybe he just liked orange. I’ve certainly had my moments with orange, so I could understand that.
I ordered my barbecue with coleslaw, filled a glass of iced tea and took a seat at one of the tables. It was a little before noon and there weren’t many other customers around. I decided to use my cell phone to take a picture of the place. That done, I put the phone down and started to eat. As I was unwrapping my sandwich I happened to notice that the phone had slipped down between my sandwich and my drink in such a way that the phone cam screen displayed the scene above. I was fascinated by it. You don’t have to know where it was or what the literal things photographed were. This is all about the shapes and the colors.
Every day we experience all kinds of visual imagery as we walk through life. Some of it’s big and unchanging. Some of it’s small and ephemeral, such as this play of light and color.
If the light had been different, if I’d been looking away or if there’d been someone with me, I’d have surely missed this little moment. But that wasn’t the case. Instead, I reached over and touched the screen and took the picture.
I don’t know why my eyes are drawn to such images. I’m just happy they are.