untitled (Colfax Street, Denver, CO) copyright 2015 Douglas Stockdale
While I was working on my project In Passing – Lest I Forget while in Denver over the Thanksgiving weekend, a Surrealist moment occurred for me.
Having known of the Henri Cartier-Bresson’s practice of composing a potential image and waiting for someone or something to happen, I had not realized the Surrealistic theory behind it until recently. I had an opportunity earlier this year to review Clement Cheroux’s biography of Henri Cartier-Bresson – Here and Now (published by Thames & Hudson) which connected the dots for me. In the photograph above, I was following the surrealistic theory of Andre Breton’s called Fixed-Explosive, which denotes the state of something simultaneously in motion and at rest. Henri Cartier-Bresson felt that this was one of the surrealist concepts that uniquely energized his compositions and characterizes many of his famous photographs.
For me, I was not intending to create a surrealist photograph, but had set up the camera and tripod to document this small roadside memorial. Then I noted this guy in the dark hoodie approaching and I could not resist making one more exposure as he walked towards the memorial. That the man is dressed entirely in black, the hoodie is concealing his face and he has his hands in his pocket makes him anonymous and creates a mysterious image.
I do not think that this photograph will be in my final project as all of my other photographs are devoid of people. Nevertheless I find this photograph very interesting.