Walking and Seeing

"The camera is my transport for my eye and carries my seeing from place to place."  - Robert Rauschenberg

No matter where I walk — Mexico, India, Western Massachusetts — my whispered reassurance before taking pictures — because it does feel like taking — is

I’ll just see what I can see. 

Rather than strapping on the “big camera” (Canon EOS 40D), which screams THIEF, I often opt for the surreptitious iPhone 5s.  After a teacher’s insightful suggestion to use it as a way to return with the big camera, I no longer feel guilty about leaving the Canon behind.  It’s more important to practice seeing.

Seeing close to home is harder, but the abandoned campus with sweeping views draws me and my phone up Main Street.  Its gorgeous buildings, most of which date to the late 1800s/early 1900s, acquiesce to rolling grounds and point to mountains framing the Connecticut River valley.

Olmsted-influenced setting aside, I focus on the graves of D. L. Moody and his wife, Emma Revell.  From this cemetery for two, the view is perfect, just above The Homestead, their home — where they taught Young Ladies — before building the campus.  To the left is his birthplace and to the right, the site where he preached to thousands at summer revivals.  The effect is odd, eerie, and sad.

The Moody graves lie on Round Top, above The Homestead and The Dollhouse
Now, the only sign of life — and Spring — around them is buckets tapped into maple trees.


The Rauschenberg quote is from Philip Gefter's lovely and revelatory article in The New York Times, October 17, 2013.