Photo Prayer 2021-07 — Exceptional Produce

I picked a pepper convoluted in its curves, extreme in its extremities, a voluptuous vegetable. What I had in mind was not a salad but Edward Weston’s “Pepper No. 30, 1930”, a photograph that evokes sensuality and presence. I begin in imitation but inspiration soon takes hold. My hand wants a supporting role in the photo, my fingertips disturbingly similar to the pepper’s terminal protrusions. The shirt sleeve should be black; the whole surface, textured; the colors, unsaturated grays. This is not the image I had in mind. No! And all these polysyllabic words? Not what I meant to put before you! Instead, I write about artists and authors, how they follow where the spirit leads them, how they are carried forward in protest. I talk about our offspring, how we embrace our creations no matter how awkward or deformed, as any parent would. This is what we bring you. This is what we have to give.

Photo of a bell pepper and author’s hand.
Photo and text copyright 2021 by Danny N. Schweers.

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Rosemary wrote:
Danny, your photo is so much more beautiful than Edward’s. It is eloquent. I didn’t realize that you were left handed. We’re only 8% of humanity, they say. [DANNY REPLIED — Sorry, but that is my right hand. I am average. Now I have another reason to think you are special.]

Rev. Tom wrote:
Wow, a super image, Danny; and as usual a very thoughtful message. Love the black and white. Hope you give us more! [DANNY REPLIED — I wanted a color image. That pepper is a brilliant red with a startling green stem. But, when I shared the image with other photographers, they wanted to see it in black and white. When experts are in agreement, it is wise to listen to them.]

Steve wrote:
How absolutely wonderful. [DANNY REPLIED — Glad you can see my work so positively, Steve. Creators often have extreme difficulty enjoying their own work, but then our fans tell us they do.]

Julie wrote:
Fabulous, Danny. Without art, we are silent bells. [DANNY REPLIED - Makes me think of Leonard Cohen’s song, “Anthem”.]

Marina wrote:
Evokes a modern dance pose ala Merce Cunningham! [DANNY REPLIED - I should be more familiar with Cunningham’s work. Soon, I will be!]

Rachel wrote:
This is what happens when you send a philosopher-poet to the grocery. ;) [DANNY REPLIED - Yes, my wife lives dangerously.]

John wrote:
I love all aspects of this Danny — great photo and great reflections on the process. Now, to google the Weston inspiration photo so I can understand better. One confusion though: I didn’t understand this part (below) — your description seems exactly like what you accomplished (to me that is). What am I missing!!! (Just a quibble at most — really nice work — as always.) [DANNY REPLIED - Quibble away, John! If I had been clearer, it would have been obvious from the text that what I ended up with is a far cry from what I was going after. Just one more way in which what I accomplished is not what I intended.]

Name Withheld wrote:
This one was especially poignant for me. It’s hard to explain why - maybe I don’t even know why. We’re going through some hard times with our teenage son right now - some mental health challenges among other things. For some reason, this tapped into that for me. I think it’s the beauty found in imperfections and the way those imperfections are echoed in the hand and the object it is holding. I’m sure it has to do also with the way mental illness runs through at least three generations of my family (including me). I also resonate with this from an artistic standpoint - how we want our creations to be one thing but they are decidedly something other. Which I suppose is ALSO about raising kids. [DANNY REPLIED: May you, your teenage son, and all his children and grandchildren yet to come abound in grace.]

Rev. Elizabeth wrote:
I love your idea that art happens as the artist and the object of the art interact. For me words form and reform in my mind as I struggle to create sentences and sermons! [DANNY REPLIED: Is that a bumper sticker? ART HAPPENS!]

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