Matthew, our nephew, is 21 and he’ll be a junior in college in the fall. I remember when he was born. It was Thanksgiving and I was cooking a turkey. It was an organic turkey and I had a long conversation with my sister Amy, both about the advantages of organic poultry and about Matthew's arrival. I relayed to my sister what my brother George, Matthew's father, had said: “It's just like it was with Amelia and Hannah. He’s only been home for a day and it already feels like he’s always been here. I can’t remember how we ever lived when he wasn’t part of our family.”
Matt is a baseball player, a fisherman, a rower, a musician (please see the link below for his music), a good writer, a fire fighter, a student, and a particularly smart and kind and quiet man. (When he’s near me, that is. I can’t vouch for the quiet part when I am out of the room.) And he’s a photographer. He took egret pictures with me down in Virginia and he’s taken other wonderful pictures.
One of the things I love to think about with Matthew is how everything he does is the seed of everything he could become. And that’s encouraging because whatever I have seen him do is really very fine. And the other thing I love to notice, specifically about his photography, is how Matthew shows up in his pictures.
When people take pictures from inside, from their own imperatives, you can see it in their pictures, and I think this is what Matthew does. And then there are two things are in the pictures - what was out in the world and what was inside - in the people behind the cameras. Because of all the things to see in any given moment, those people picked something. They did that because of their minds and hearts and eyes. Because they were human. Because they thought and felt and saw in a human way, and because they were a specific human, a specific person with a specific need, and they found what they needed “out there”, but it was also in them, the need, the yearning, the vision, the mind, the connection. They just naturally did all that, as human beings do.
It doesn’t have to be a big deal, it happens all the time when people go out to notice what they notice. I think that’s what gives pictures uniqueness and that’s what gives them life. It’s the people behind the cameras and the way they are paying attention, the way they are finding the pictures that only they can find.
That’s when photography is at its best, I feel. It's a chance to go and look at the world, a chance to find what we care about, a chance to be who we are. And then when we share the pictures, it gives us a chance to do it together. I like that very much.
I am delighted to show you some of Matthew’s pictures, and equally delighted to give you the link to Matthew’s music. It’s very peaceful, very fine.
(If you scroll down in his Facebook page you'll see him playing a song that he wrote.)