The Mental Museum

Sam Abell Did That?!

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“But the worst peril, any photographer agrees, is self-doubt. That black shroud of depression. The Arctic chill in your stomach. The insidious whisper that convicnces you 20 years of brilliant photographs were a lucky aberration – the next time the gods won’t be so kind.

“Cold sweat time, ” Cary Wolinsky calls it. That “this is the day they find out what a phony I am” feeling. Which is why even an old hand like Bill Allard can be heard to mutter in mid shutter snap.: “This could be great, Allard – if you don’t screw it up.” Because you can screw it up. Wrong camera; wrong lens; wrong light; wrong film (sometimes even no film). The irretrievable moment, the picture that got away.

Then, suddenly, the world takes a quarter turn. The stars align. The improbable happens. Magic happens. “The moon rises,” says Sam Abell. “The blossoms fall. The peacocks display. The shadow lingers on the tent. The gondola slides into the light.

And photography redeems itself.”

~National Geographic, August 1995


photo, Sam Abell.


Written by thementalmuseum

May 22, 2008 at 4:57 am

Posted in 1

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