It starts simply enough, I want to do a deep dive on a photograph. As I begin to do the research necessary, I uncover new threads of history, interwoven with the photographer or with the location or subject. I then dig there and I find new rabbit holes to dive into. I can go on and on forever. But sooner or later the blog post must be finished, the deep dive must end and I must come up for air.
Researching the photographer 'Comings and Goings' by Colin O'Brien, I ran across Bert Hardy, a English photographer that influenced O'Brien. I encounter an image he shot using a box camera that came to epitomize post war London.
I follow then only to find that one of the two ladies in the photograph just died but not before she went back to the same place. She tells of the image from her perspective and how in changed her life. I read about her kids, her marriage and find that she has written a book about her life after that picture.
I also read that there is a movie that was influenced by it all. And so I add, the biography to the books I would like to read, and the movie 'Alfie' that I need to watch soon. I can keep digging, I want to keep digging. Each foot I dig, I get a better understanding of the events leading up to that picture and all of the people who influenced.
The problem is that I need to finish the deep dive. I need to come up for air. I need to stop traveling from one rabbit hole to another and just bring it all to a close. If I don't, I risk losing myself forever.
A few years ago I picked up a book, the Seven Pillars of Wisdom which was the autobiography of Lawrence of Arabia. This took me to a WWI book written by an Australian veteran about the war. The book was no longer published through normal means, so I had to dig to find it. I finally found it and read it. This took me to Ancient Greek military tactics and the ancient world of the Spartans. This took me to a political history of the Spartan city state. A year and a half later I came up for breath. I had not read anything else. I was constantly seeking context for my initial read and this kept forcing me to dig.
So here I sit, at my computer late at night after following three or four rabbit holes. I finished my article on the deep dive and I learned about other photographers I will need to study. I read about the woman in the polka dotted dress and how she wound up on that cool London beach. I learned about Bert and his photography and have a deeper appreciation of what was done. So I lift my glass, after coming up for air, and toast the wonderful rabbit holes that I keep finding.
Patrick...confirmed film & digital photography addict.