Saturday, August 21, 2004

(the third) one from the archives

A scene of incredible beauty. (26 08 03)

Driving home we chance across a tractor in the field, ploughing by floodlight in the August darkness. 6 bright lights form a semi-circle above the cab, complemented by 2 more to either side of the radiator. As we round the corner this strange arrangement appears like some alien craft, close encounters made real.

All else is dark, and this apparition seems to just float there, there in a space of its own creation. Beholden to no one, it sits in a spotlight of existence. As we pass by the rear of the vehicle comes into view; behind the tractor sits the plough, tossing pieces of stalk and earth up into the light. Like a sunlit blizzard placed into a snow-scene toy it exists only within tight boundaries, the radius of the lights.

I want to stop and take a picture, but I find that I cannot. It feels wrong, too intimate. Like this machine and its driver have shown me a beautiful secret that I must not share; a feeling that if I snap this I will steal its soul, the beauty of the lights trapped in my camera for me alone. So we drive on.

I can’t shake the image, it haunts me all the way home. I should have photographed it, should have stopped and drunk it in. This is my regret, my sadness stems from the worry that it may never be repeated for my eyes. I promise myself that I will make it a project, a series: farms by night. I will capture its like, photograph similar and more. So I say, but I know it will never happen.


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