Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Out from Behind the White Picket Fence?

One of the great strengths of social documentary/street photography is the genre's ability to tell the stories of so-called "ordinary" people going about their normal everyday lives. Not only that, the story read into a photograph is going to be a bit different depending on what each viewer brings to the image from their own lives, values and worldview.
I saw this man walking along the shingle beach not far from where I'm staying. Alone, and not looking like this was his happiest day. But who can say what was in his mind as he walked along the beach on a sunny Sunday?
Now, here's another great thing about art: you meet lots of really talented people whose art and presence enrich the world. One such person is Karen Bayley-Ewell. She saw this photo and sent me a poem. Not written in response to the image, she told me, but written some time ago. But, you know, in the world of Art and beauty, there is no "time" in the linear sense that we seem to live it day-to-day. So, one possible story for the man in my photograph was written long before his life's journey led him to this spot on this beach and long before I saw him there. Makes you think doesn't it?

Feeling Down Down on the Beach


Oh how your garden looks so fab 
Looking like a home & garden ad 
How much time have you spent
Surrounded by a white picket fence

Waiting around for the 9:08 
Always wondering why it's late 
Time moves fast as you fall behind
Your watch is off by a decade you find

Oh dear what a crushing bore
You never looked behind before 
There's only the recording of your mind 
If only you could just rewind

What on earth have you done
But mother is proud of you my son 
Excuses excuses have you not heard
Your unseen play is so absurd

Happy family, wife and 2 kids 
Is that really all there is 
2 spare rooms mortgage paid
Bare as your future I'm afraid

Gaps wide open as a patio door
Garden furniture adorns the floor
Oh what a splendidly well-kept lawn 
Inside you suddenly feel forlorn

But you are the king of your castle
Trophy wife and a dog called rascal
Life is evaporating like a morning dew
And suddenly you ask where are you 

The question burns deep inside
A voice taunts your life is a lie
The unanswered question inside remains
Will you answer or just go insane 

Thank you Karen for doing me and my work such a great honour


  1. This is great, Paul. Thanks for the honor! I really look forward to us combining more of our work to compliment each other.

    1. The honour is mine! And yes I am very excited about working more together!!!


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