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For Whom the Bell Tolls

April 19, 2013  •  Leave a Comment
February 2011 I went for a long weekend in Hancock Vermont. I had planned on shooting black and white landscapes.  Somehow I forgot my film and only had 10 sheets of 4x5 instant film and a two sheets of slide and two sheets of black and white film in my film holders. Times like these one wonders why does anyone still shoot film.
 
Self Portrait; For Whom the Bell Tolls, 2011 © Traverse Day Robinette
Self Portrait; For Whom the Bell Tolls, 2011 © Traverse Day Robinette
 
I did some hiking and a bit of shooting. Mostly I froze my fingers off while trying to make images in the icy woods of Vermont. I made a few instant images at Texas Falls and they were technically off. I had intended to have the scene back lit but my cold hands took so long to set up the shot that the sun actually moved from behind the tree. It is a sad day when the sun moves faster than you. I had two choices, 1) Move my camera to another vantage point and start over or 2) Stay put and make the image shooting straight into the sun. As you have probably have guessed I was not interested in loosing another race to the sun. I must say it was hard for me to let go and make an image where I knew I had given up control.
 
Snowfall, 2011 © Traverse Day Robinette
Snowfall, 2011 © Traverse Day Robinette
 
Life is a funny thing and photography is no less strange. My photography professor Nick Nixon once said “Make pictures now and ask questions later”. Unfortunately at the time this was of little use, while in college everyone wanted questions answered “now”.  These words have been echoing in the back of my mind since graduation. I consistently find myself photographing without reason or direction of events pertaining to daily life. Answers to these questions seem to surface years later and bring a greater focus to works already made. This is something I had never anticipated to happen.
 
It Tolls for Thee, 2011 © Traverse Day Robinette
 

I put these images aside and did not think of them for some time. They represented the scene not as I had wanted them to, but in a totally different manner.   After a year or so I found myself drawn to the quiet beauty they held.  I started to form a story and to think how they were like scenes from “For Whom the Bell Tolls” by Ernest Hemingway. I had brought along this novel while on my trip and I found myself reading in the window. It was snowing outside and in the book. I look at these images from Texas Falls and they represent the snow fall and what was to come.  This sequence was also contrived with the purpose of representing my insecurities with what is before life and after death.


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