Wednesday, September 2, 2015

photographs not taken

No - not this one - this is a stone angel in the grounds of my inn in Natchez, offering up some kind of supplication.  I maybe use her for intercession, since this was built in 1818 - by someone from NJ, no less - and lived in by plantation owners and politicians.  It is, of course, extraordinarily beautiful, even if it also has the over fussy and stuffed feeling of an English Georgian country house hotel.  It comes after a day traveling through Texas (East Texas is very very pretty, which came as a surprise) and Northern/Northeastern Louisiana, which is entirely full of trees, with the occasional bayou.  An hourly update sits on https//, as yesterday.  More or less hourly, anyway - ignoring moments when all known GPS systems refused to acknowledge the brand new interstate on which I somehow found myself.

But the pictures that will stay in my mind are the ones not taken.  Two of these were where I couldn't stop - the magnificence of the Red River as I crossed it - with extraordinary dark red bluffs and spurs - and a little earlier, a field of miniature donkeys in front of a pond which, in turn, was in front of a barn painted with brightly colored polka-dots.  And then there was the gas station somewhere south of Dixie Inn, which when I went inside was more like a local convenience store, with a large room off on the right with tables and chairs - did they sometimes serve food?  Were events held there?  At any rate, there was a very large, elderly man seated in the gloom in front of quite the largest, and ancient, indoor fans on a floor stand that I've ever seen.  He raised a hand to me in cheery greeting, but although he would have made a splendid image, there was, of course, simply no way I could have taken a picture without stopping and talking to him and hearing his history - anything else would have been exploitative, and so very well might that, too.  And yes, it probably would have needed flash.  And I had a glimpse of what it could have been like for (white) FSA photographers visiting small towns in Louisiana, and elsewhere, even when they did have the time to stop and talk - which I didn't, needing, like someone in a C&W song, to cross the Mississippi whilst it was still more or less broad daylight.

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