Pictures of Something

From December 7, 2021 at Navy flight static display by Point Mugu NAS in Southern CA. (Point Mugu Missile Park)

One picture here is an anthropomorphized crow on a missile: “FU Scarecrow! With great power comes great responsibility!” It’s cheerful—and closed ended. Move along, nothing more to see here.


The other is a picture of a missile with a crow on it, beside an empty road,… It’s more interesting and open ended, more existential. It has aloneness, nature mixed with an old weapon, a shabby road, a trash can, clouds, slightly crooked…the viewer may begin to make up stuff and not wander off as quickly in their head.

When you begin photography they, whomever “they” may be, tell you to take pictures of “something,” you must have a point of focus in your photos.

The issue with “something” is the viewer gets it right away and starts looking at the trivial nits of focus, tones, lines, frames, horizons, bright spots…blah, blah, blah. They already got smacked over the head with the “thing” in the photo, so start thinking about something else entertaining. You’ve lost them.

Neither photo is great and wonderful, but I find one more interesting than the other—more what I look for in a photograph.

If you ever get to stand and look at the original Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” in a gallery you may stare for a long time, begin see all kinds of things in the thick blobs of paint. It’s not just a picture of stars in the sky. There’s no point of focus—there is the black mountain, then the stars, then the moon, then the village, no wait the swirls between the stars, or it’s the mountain…

Some don’t care for Van Gogh, they prefer the close up missile riding crow better. That’s the point too. I hate liver and my wife loves it…go figure…