LATE TO WORK
THE BURDEN OF A 21ST-CENTURY RETIREMENT
To view this article plus the photographs of Michael Jacobson-Hardy click on the following link:
“Be still, and the earth will speak to you.” —Navajo proverb
“We will be known forever by the tracks we leave.” —Dakota
“We don’t inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.” —Native American Proverb
“Don’t be afraid to cry. It will free your mind from sorrowful thoughts.”—Hopi
“And the wind said,
may you be strong as the oak,
yet flexibile as the birch.
May you stand as tall as the redwood,
live gracefully as the willow and
may you always bear fruit
all the days on this earth.”—Native American Prayer
“When a man moves away from nature, his heart becomes hard.” —Lakota Proverb
Look Closely is an exhibition that encourages us to slow down and take the time to look closely at things we often take for granted in our busy daily lives. Last October I retired from teaching high school photography and video production, and returned to my work as a photographer in the field. I began to slow down and “see” composition in a different way. Nature provides us with ample opportunity to see things that others may not notice. The great landscape photographer Ansel Adams once said that he sees something that is not really there. The act of slowing down and noticing details is an important one to have. Looking closely puts our attention onto the benign reality, especially during these hard times. We all need to slow down and notice our surroundings and pay attention to the people around us.
The following photographs were made on my iPhone while hiking in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Many years ago I learned to photograph using a large-format view camera on a heavy tripod. Each image was carefully composed and printed in my darkroom. Today, the camera has become a part of everyday life. I wanted to try and see what I could do with a simple iPhone. Perhaps my early emphasis on composition and precision came in handy, as I found objects that others might have overlooked.
The act of slowing down in order to see is an important one. Please take your time to notice the details in these compositions. Some may seem abstract such as the rotting burl on the side of a tree alongside the Mill River. Others are more immediately understood. But all are an act of inquiry.