The Sharp Blade

 This picture was composed with one goal, to show the maximum impact of spring in Burlington MA. In past exhibits I’ve told you that everything shrinks in a photograph, when compared to the live view. In this instance, the opposite is true. The picture couldn’t be bigger. The actual moment was less than this.

Do you like what you see? Second question: Do you want to know the story behind this picture?

If you know my mode of storytelling, it might be analogous to this: A dull blade slips and cuts, but when a sharp edge slips, the cut’s deeper. Get ready for it.

Except for the sky, everything you see in this 2011 photograph was gone in 2012. The flowers, the bush, and the trees were destroyed in a landscape renovation.

When I brought my camera on a walk near Network Drive, I was on the lookout for pretty spring subjects. There was an old road that was used for business, and one particular business, which was long abandoned, had the pretty scene you see here. Because the shop were closed I was able to walk on the property and get this shot.

This picture is everything that I wanted from that walk. The colors matched the life that was all around me. There was peace in the abandonment, because all that was missing was the activities of people. Nature filled the void with birdsong and audible wind.

I was in it, and will never be far from it. That was the impact on me.

Later, when I saw the building torn down, I was shocked to see the trees had to go as well. This made the photo bittersweet. I thought I had captured what life was, and I didn’t know how the wave would complete its arc.

There are trite, overused phrases such as “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.” When we see spring color in front of us, we understand those buds will fall within days or weeks. We’re not really prepared for the news that the sources are gone.

Perhaps you’ll understand when I say that the same applies to every photograph you’ll happen across. One day, everything you see on a given picture will be gone, the animals, furniture, the rugs and rooms. If you’re not prepared for it, the sharpest knife does slip. Enjoy what you have, for each have you’ve got.


About Ara Hagopian's The LITERATE Show

For over thirty years, I have enjoyed drawing beautiful shapes and writing complementary stories. The imagery tends to focus on our place in the world—whomever or whatever we may be. I am influenced by Twentieth Century history—I read vintage magazines, books and letters. Inspiration comes from visualizing human achievement and personal interaction—derived from people, places and things which may be obscure, but never insignificant. My pen-and-ink THE MAGNIFICENT RECOVERY was selected by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston for their 2008 summer art auction.
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