It’s funny how things seem to pop up that you weren’t looking for and turn out to be a perfect gift for the moment. I came across this image this morning while looking for something completely different. I was looking to see if I had a photograph of the Hotel Pennsylvania that was located near Penn Station. I had read an article about how the 22 story building was being torn down and I wondered if I had noticed it enough to make an image. I didn’t find any digital scans for that photograph but I found this one instead because it happened to be close in the alphabetical order of my filing system.
It is a scan of a 20 year old 4×5 b&W polaroid print that I had made about 5 years ago. I had photographed this professional figure model in the studio as part of an advanced B&W workshop I was teaching and had simply made a test polaroid exposure that I stuck away in the files. After 20 years the chemicals had begun to break down into this interesting pattern. The image took on a mythological quality that resembled an illustration from a children’s book about a creation story involving a Mother Earth character. The circular chemical stain at the top of the frame almost appears as if it is an angel flying overhead.
The image reminds me of a poem I read once. I can only remember the one line that reminds us that we all are made of stardust. Perhaps that should be the title of this image. A quick search on the subject reveals that scientist believe that we are made of the same elements that go back to the big bang.
So often it seems like the original intent of something yields to something better than I could have imagined. Some people don’t like to leave anything to chance, but as an artist I have found that having a little space for ambiguity leads to happy accidents like this image.
Something changes, something fades, and I am left filled with wonder.