Friday, October 24
Anticipation is a funny thing. It's so exciting before something actually takes place and then all of a sudden, after it's over, you find yourself missing the anticipation of it.
That's how last night was for me.
After riding the El into the Clark and Lake stop to meet M at work, we went around the corner and grabbed a quick bite at Corner Bakery for dinner. (Roasted Tomato Basil soup...yum!) Then it was off to Michigan Avenue to locate Columbia College where the lecture was being held. We arrived a few minutes before it started, just in time to snag two remaining chairs beside each other. It was a small gallery room (apparently the lecture hall had been double booked) and it quickly filled to standing room only. It was enjoyable to listen to Daniel Dixon speak of his mother and father (Maynard Dixon, famous painter) and to see her work through his eyes. It was a unique experience for a child growing up, to say the least.
When it was over, about an hour in, he stood up for questions. M looked at me and asked if I had any questions. I shrugged my shoulders, not at all having prepared for the possibility of questions (I've gotten rusty after being away from college!). I think we both figured someone would asking something! The room was silent and before I could really contemplate a question, he was sitting back down and people were beginning to disperse. I stood (more like hovered, actually) around him for about 10 minutes waiting to get the chance to shake his hand and say, "Thank you." I found out I was too timid for this task, as older people kept somehow nosing in front of me each time I thought I'd catch his eye to address him. After thanking his wife, who did some of the reading of DL's quotes, I gave up and ventured through the rest of the exhibit. M was very kind to indulge me and was patient, letting me look at prints and point out things.
Of course on the train ride home, we thought of many questions that could have been asked and we both expressed how we wished we could have listened to him longer. There's something about a first hand account, an oral history, if you will, that is intriguing. Eventually, the first hand accounts are gone, which drives my appreciation for them. We've lost our love for oral history... we write things down in books and that's that. But listening to it, from someone who has been there seems irreplaceable. And so I regret not having a question ready last night, because I think had just one person asked just one question, more might have come and we might have gotten an even deeper sense of what the world of Dorothea Lange was like.
What I wonder now...
1. What was it like to work with Ansel Adams? What differences did you see between his approach to work and your mother's?
2. How did growing up in an household with two artists shape your childhood and how you view the arts today? Was it intimidating to have such talented parents?
3. Did your mother have a favorite camera?
4. Do you have a favorite picture?
5. What do you think she would say of photography today?
It's so much easier after the fact. (sigh)