We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable.”

Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Look at the image. Describe what you see.

Did you see the shopping cart in the lower right? Don’t feel bad if you didn’t. Lots of people don’t.

IMG_3133I lived for a lot of years in Newark, Ohio. It’s a midsize town about 40 miles east of Columbus. Lots of history, lots of interesting things to photograph. Famed photographer Clarence White did some of his more important work while living in Newark.

Anyway, Newark was on the Ohio Canal, and throughout the city there are various wall-size murals depicting some aspect of Newark. One of these — on Canal Street where the canal actually ran– shows a winter scene with folks skating on the frozen canal.

The image is compelling, but Canal Street isn’t the main throughfare it once was. The Courthouse Square is one block to the north, and that’s where most people go. The mural overlooks mostly a series of parking lots in the backs of older brick offices and stores.

I had driven past the mural many times, but there were always cars parked in the parking lot, ruining the image that I envisioned.

Finally, one cold Sunday morning in March, there were no cars in the parking lot, and I spent almost an hour freezing my fanny trying to get the angle just right.

The mural actually ends out significantly more to the left, and it is in color, although they are muted colors. What I wanted, though, was for the lines coming from the real phone/electric pole on the far right to appear to extend into the mural so it looked as though the lines followed. Once I figured out the right spot, and got the zoom cranked right, the actual image was pretty easy from that point.

The shopping cart was there already, I didn’t move it.

What I like so much about this image is that it blends reality with art and, in essence, asks the question what is real and what is an illusion?

As a photographer, the images I capture are all really illusions. They exist for that a brief moment in time. And while I might be able to recreate some of them later, others only exist for that particular moment.

That’s pretty much the story of our lives, isn’t it? There are some things which appear to have permanence, but really do not, and there are other things which are truly only transitory. I find it’s the transitory that often has a greater impact on who and what I am than the things which appear to be fixtures.