Last night I went to hear Emmet Gowin speak at the High Museum in Atlanta, as part of the Atlanta Celebrates Photography festival. It was SO WONDERFUL. He talked initially about the famous Ansel Adams photograph of a charred tree and grass. He spoke about how it moved him in a physical, almost gut wrenching way and it was the first time such a thing had happened to him.
It’s so easy to forget the initial urgency you feel after you make this sort of discovery. I remember when I felt this way. It was after I saw Jim Goldberg’s Raised by Wolves photographs at SFMOMA way back in the early 2000’s. That body of work changed me. I came home so excited, so amazed. Without this experience I would have never asked my mom for a camera for my graduation. I never would have taken a photography class. I never would have gone to school to study photography. I would not have met the people I know, may not have travelled to the same places, may not even be living the place I am at present. My whole life might have been totally different.
Isn’t it strange how some of the most meaningful turns in your life are just accidents?
I’ve only met Jim Goldberg once, very briefly. He probably doesn’t even remember me. But if I ever met him again, I’d like to let him know he’s partially responsible for where I’m at right now. I owe him a thank you.