Home / The Friday Morning Listen: Debbie Davies – Picture This

The Friday Morning Listen: Debbie Davies – Picture This

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I've been good. Very few purchases have been made. Okay, there have been a couple of books here and there. Does that count? C'mon, reading is like breathing. So necessary.


One of the things that's been missing from my creative life is photography. I used to take a lot of pictures, especially black and white pictures. Now, these weren't your normal snapshots. No, I've always been sort of fascinated but closeups, the kind that remove an object from its context. I used to joke that, given the right equipment, I'd try to take a shot of a mite on a fly's nuts. I don't even know if flies have nuts but well, you sort of get the idea.

So you probably won't be surprised to learn that I have photos of things like a tire track frozen in ice, or the end cuts from a log pile, or the sun shot indirectly through the bottom of a water glass. I can't really explain what the attraction is with this stuff. It feels somehow related to the elements of music that draw me in — the inner detail of instrumental interplay and texture. Maybe some writing on that topic will happen after…

The new camera! I've wanted to get a digital SLR for a long time, but the ones I've settled on have always come in at about a thousand dollars. Believe me, I can rationalize a lot of things, but there are so many other 1K projects around here that the camera always loses out. Also believe that this has been a tough urge to ignore. My poor old Canon AE-1 has been sitting on a shelf in the closet ever since local processors of black and white film (Film? Remember that?) went out of existence. What has turned the tide is that a sweet deal on a gently-used camera has fallen into my lap. The transaction hasn't been made yet, but that's comin'.

Much like when you decide on a new car, and then see them all over the place, the very idea of a camera made all manner of photographic opportunities seem to materialize. Maybe I had shut out that part of my brain so it was just resting. So in the last few days I have seen: a blue work glove stuck in the mud, a huge and messy pile of torn-open padded envelopes (okay, that's underneath the desk in my office, but still…), and an active robin's nest about eight feet from my living room window. That last one isn't normally fodder for my camera but, oh man, those little blue eggs are so endearing.

Probably the most interesting sight I've seen came as me and TheWife™ were making our way up the stairs at a subway station on the way to the Springsteen show: right below where a handrail was bolted to a red-tiled wall was a pair of false eyelashes, stuck to the tile. What the heck? Where's my camera?!

Yes, I've been saving up my writer nickels and dimes, loose change at the end of the day, and redeemable bottle caps. It's time to take some pictures, cuz I deserve it.

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About Mark Saleski

  • Man, I’d love to see some of those pictures. I bet they’re fantastic.

    Hopefully you have the camera in your hands soon.

  • I would love to see what you take pictures of, Mark.

    I’ve been wanting an SLR for ages, too. It’s a daunting market to even be curious about. One of my concerns is finding a camera for which I can find a reasonably-priced macro lens, as I used to do a lot of macro photography with a Nikon Coolpix 995, which I so loved for seemingly similar reasons that you love the abstracted images you want to take. Fun hobby, but boy can it get expensive quickly!

  • exactly. which is why my old slr and macro zoom lens have been in the closet for so long.

  • Now that everything’s digital, the costs aren’t as continual as they used to be, though, which is nice. We used to have a B&W darkroom many years ago, and that’s costly on an ongoing basis, what with film, chemicals and paper needing to be replaced regularly. With a digital SLR, once you’ve made the initial (admittedly large) investment in a decent camera and one or two versatile lenses, you don’t really need to keep spending unless you want to.

    Mark, I hope you’re going to find a venue in which to share some of your photos with us!

  • oh don’t worry, i’ll figure out something as far as having the photos on the net.

    i was a photo nut way back in high school. didn’t have a dedicated darkroom but i used to take over the bathroom, taping black garbage bags over the window, etc.

    people were always banging on the door to use the toilet. too bad!!!! 😉

  • I was big into photography when I was in college too. Even got zapped from an enlarger in the dark room. I too, would love to get back into it, but I’ve got too much going on now to keep me wrapped up for a while. So Mark – it’s up to you!