Discovering themes

Kisses for Oscar. Paris, France 2007 ©David Gardner 2008

Certain patterns or themes began to emerge as I photograph for the project. One of the main themes is how when an individual would make a mark, others would come along later and add to it – usually in a similar manner. I’ve called this Proximity. For me, these places begin to feel like visual conversations going on over time. Sometimes we understand the meaning and intentions. In “Kisses for Oscar” (above) it is fairly clear the affection visitors to Oscar Wilde’s grave in Paris intended. One person at some point decided it would be nice to add a lipstick imprint to the grave stone. Others agreed and either drew lips, actually kissed the grave or added other remembrances.

Sometimes we do not understand the meaning. The Shoe Tree image is an example. The urban legend goes:

A young newly married couple were having an argument while driving Highway 50. In order to suss things out, they stop at a turn-out by the side of the road. The argument escalates and the young woman jumps out of the car declaring she will walk home (They are 30 miles from any town). This angers her husband and he manages to remove her shoes and throw them on a nearby cottonwood tree in order to keep her near. So the shoes in the tree do have meaning for one couple, but others coming along adding shoes don’t know what it is. This doesn’t stop them though. For me, this begins to resemble a conversation where no one know what they are talking about, but they continue to talk.

More on themes in future posts.

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