Isn't that extraordinary? Like so many found images, it's pure, perfect photography, a moment in time captured forever. Can't you just hear the muffled hoofbeats, and feel the snowfall and the bite of the freezing air? A reminder of how profoundly simple photography can be.
It took me a while to figure out what it was reminding me of so strongly, then I remembered: it was that very snowy winter of 1976/77, when I was a post-graduate student at the University of East Anglia in Norwich. My life was turning, as I fell out of love with various old things, or perhaps I was just seeing the same things in new, confusing ways. Was the horse loose, or being given a canter round the paddock?
That Christmas I was given a copy of Joni Mitchell's Hejira. A vinyl LP, of course; the same copy is still close at hand after nearly 40 years, but worn and rarely played. It's an album full of snow; crows, too. If you know it, you'll recall the inner gatefold image of Mitchell ice-skating, in semi-silhouette, flapping the black crow-like wings of a shawl, not unlike the skirts of the woman's coat in the photograph. Hejira has a very particular, haunting atmosphere, uplifted and underscored by those long, fluid lines played on the fretless bass by Jaco Pastorius.
ListenPure, perfect music, in fact, a moment in time captured forever.
Strains of Benny Goodman
Coming through the snow and the pinewood trees
I'm shutting down now until after Christmas, so may I wish you all the best for 2016, including at least a few pure, perfect moments! And don't worry about capturing them on camera. If I've learned anything in 2015, it's that you can always construct an evocative picture -- you can even find one, as above. So be sure to leave yourself room to live the experiences and emotions for the pictures to evoke; don't let the camera get in the way.