Influences Today and Yesterday

Loving a photograph is a lot like falling for a piece of music. Some songs you hear and like for a brief moment in time - fifteen minutes, a year, or perhaps the duration of your childhood. They fit into the context of a specific moment and then they lose their hold as your life changes from one chapter to the next. Other songs exist outside the confines of a moment and stay in your life forever. They aren't dependent on your mood or the circumstances of your well being. They just simply are what they are and you can't let go of them.

© Bill Brandt Archive

There are a few photographs in this world that have always influenced me in the same way. The perspective from which I view them might change with passing years, but no matter how many times I pull it up I always see something there. This particular landscape by eclectic photographer Bill Brandt is one such image. 

You'd think given my body of work the photographs I go back to over and over again would be nudes or portraits. Certainly there are some of those too, but I've always found this image to be raw and beautiful in the purest sense photography can be. It's tempting to call this photograph depressing but I don't see it as such. To me it looks brave, strong, and triumphant. A tired man marching onward through a blackened landscape following his own yellow brick road of sorts. Where he is heading either to or from is irrelevant, just so long as he keeps going. Perhaps that is an overly sentimental way to look at it, but hey that is ok. Sentiment isn't a sin.

I've long considered buying this image to hang on my own wall someday. Surprisingly the Bill Brandt archive is somewhat affordable (kind of...). Perhaps someday.