My late husband had a vivid imagination to match his artistic photographer's eye. Not only did Joe see visible things that the rest of us typically miss, he saw beyond the limitations of most humans' eyes—and embellished from there.
Case in point: Bridge to Nowhere, pictured above. The scene is located on the Cape Fear River near downtown Wilmington, NC. We probably drove past that location dozens of times on the road alongside it. I never registered anything out of the ordinary about the bridge. But Joe did and he knew exactly how he wanted to shoot it.
The problem was the vantage point he wanted to shoot from was not accessible to the public. It was a tower of some sort available only to the city employees who worked there. In addition, the drawbridge wasn't always in the position he wanted.
Those conditions alone might have stopped most people, but not Joe. He had a friend, a police officer, who worked for the city. His friend also happened to be a photographer, a shoot buddy, and Joe's mentee. One phone call to Pete and the subsequent many steps needed to be taken to arrange the photo shoot were handled.
As mentioned in a previous blog post, there's almost always one "standout" from every shoot. Yet even that standout image or version can usually be improved by the creator, as anyone who writes or creates art can attest. We're constantly tweaking our work.
The original "done" version of this image from 2017 is different than the one pictured here, which I found in my emails from Joe dated March 2020. The tones of the original were more muted, the sun less distinct, and instead of a diver floating above the river, a group of birds hovered. Totally different impact and message.
The date of the later version did not escape my notice. Beginning of the pandemic and also, although unbeknownst to us at the time, probably the beginnings of the cancer that would take Joe's life eight months later.
Yet I believe we know everything on some level. Many seemingly unrelated incidents occurred in those months that all add up to Joe somehow "knowing" and preparing. Much of this is revealed in the book I'm writing now, but for this post, suffice it to say the significance of the switching out of birds to the diver in this version hit me like a ton of bricks.
I had not remembered the particulars of the updating of this image. I only became aware of the different version as I searched out the photo for use in this post. This was one of two images I was considering. Once I saw the updated version of Bridge to Nowhere, it instantaneously became the only choice. Why?
If you are connected to me on Facebook, you might have seen my post a few days ago on February 16 about taking a deep dive into a six-week social media detox, with a note that I planned to return April 1. The image I used on Facebook was the original diver image Joe had taken at University of Miami sometime around the early 1990s.
When I saw that same diver leaping off the "Bridge to Nowhere" later that morning, I immediately knew Joe had been led to create this revised version for me to use in this post today. Although at the time neither of us were aware of the true reason, the creative muse that prompted him to make that change was privy to All That Is and knew what I would need.
The Bridge to Nowhere is a perfect visual representation of how I feel and what I'm doing. Social media leads to Nowhere and I'm jumping off, leaping into unknown waters—believing (like Indiana Jones in The Last Crusade) that once I take the leap of faith, the bridge to where I want to go will appear to support me.
How I've come to know what I know is at the core of the book I'm writing, and a huge contributing factor to why I'm taking this social media break. For now that's all I can share with you.
I do plan to continue writing these weekly posts. Many will be like this one, an image from Joe and a short back story about how it came to be. I'll also be continuing my daily "Card for the Collective" posts.
You can always email me or comment below with feedback or questions.
Let me know if you want to join me on the Road to Somewhere. I'm seeking out my tribe.
Image: Bridge to Nowhere ©Gemignani.
Text ©Shelley Lieber
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