11.26.2022 – nothing consciously

nothing consciously in mind see things never know you’ll discover

I love this. That’s the first thing that came to my mind when I saw this picture of my wife running after my grand kids on the beach with a boogie board in the foreground. It really is a great picture.
The second thing that came to mind was a famous photograph by the famous photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt. The photograph is of a Marching Band Drum Major and a line of kids strung along behind them. I had seen this photo for years and it had been included in both the LIFE MAGAZINE BEST PHOTOGRAPHS book that I thumbed through often and the famous Family of Man exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1955. I later learner that the photograph had been taken in Ann Arbor, Michigan and the Drum Major was the Drum Major of the University of Michigan Marching Band. Mr. Alfred Eisenstaedt had an assignment from Life Magazine to photograph the band for an upcoming feature on the band director, William D. Revelli. With that in mind, I took a closer look and realized I knew exactly where this was. This was just on the other side of the brick wall on State Street from where my friend Doug lived. I played football on this field many times. According to Doug, they spent so much time out on their balcony watching football practice that someone was sent over to maker sure they were really students at Michigan. Mr. Eisenstaedt would later say, “It was early in the morning, and I saw a little boy running after him, and all the faculty children on the playing field ran after the boy. And I ran after them. This is a completely spontaneous, unstaged picture.” Time Magazine, the Time in Time-Life, claimed that, “Generations later, the picture remains one of the great photographer’s most beloved. When Bill Clinton was offered any Eisenstaedt print as thanks for a sitting he and his wife and daughter granted the then-94-year-old photographer on Martha’s Vineyard in 1993, the president reportedly chose this one.” There was a time in my life when I wanted to be a news photographed and I studied the work of Mr. Eisenstaedt. He told the story of his first assignment to cover the wedding of some minor European Royalty. Hungary or Rumania or Macedonia or something. Mr. Eisenstaedt said he took pictures of everything and this in the day when each slide of file meant replacing the back of the camera. He had brought some 200 frames of film and shot everything. Everything, that is, except the married couple. Mr. Eisenstaedt reported that he never forgot that. Still, Mr. Eisenstaedt would later write: “People sometimes ask me, ‘When you go off on an assignment, what do you have in mind?’ The truth is, unless the briefing from the editors is very specific, I don’t usually know. I may have nothing consciously in mind. I have to see things first. You never know what you’ll discover.” According to Time Magazine, this is the happiest photo ever made. I think my photo comes close. There is this one problem. I did not take it. My daughter did.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s