Three days a week I get up in the half-bright morning, slip my iPhone in my pocket, tie my hiking boots on my feet, clip the leash on the dog and head out.
Every time I get out onto the trail, as my body and brain begin to wake up, I think, I’m not going to photograph anything today. I’m just going to walk. And every time, at some point, I reach into my pocket for my iPhone to take a photograph.
You see, like a child collects stones or leaves or twigs along the path, I collect photographs. Even with no intention to do so, inevitably something comes into my awareness that needs to be collected. I need to pause and revere the scene, the moment, as I frame an image.
Why does a child collect the stones or leaves or twigs? I’m not sure I know. Maybe because they are pretty or interesting. Or maybe because each one is different. “Look at this one, Mommy,” he says, holding out his hand. Look at this one, I say, taking a photograph.
Each one is a marker, a reminder, a special moment to later be pulled out and cherished. Each one has the possibility to be compared, contrasted, transformed into something new. Or, as is the case most times, to be filed away, like so many child’s rocks pushed into the corner of a drawer. Coming across them later I might think, Huh, why did I collect that?
Even so, I capture them and I keep them. I can’t seem to stop. I don’t want to stop. They are my collection, the possibility that I keep in my pocket, just in case.