Monday, November 30, 2009


BLUE COAT, originally uploaded by Justin Davis Davanzo.
Often times taking pictures can feel very voyeuristic. I sometimes have a hard time with that and don't want to invade too much, but that is what makes a good photographer...I was visiting Santa Barbara late this summer and had a chance to walk around State Street with my camera alone. Of course I did the usual and took pictures of the things that I usually see and then I had something happen. I stopped walking and sat down at the edge of a sidewalk cafe and just watched the street like a movie. I put my camera on the table and started playing with settings and taking candid shots of the things going on outside. Some of the pictures turned out and some didn't, but it was easy for me to pretend I wasn't taking them as I sipped my coffee and secretly hit the shutter.

Across the street I noticed this old lady in a bright blue coat just standing there....doing what I was doing it seemed, but she didn't have a camera...she was just observing the world and I wondered what she was thinking about....dressed up and out on the town...her life so filled with experience and age. Me on the other side of the mirror watching her watching the world. She was so still the whole time and in front of her was constant movement...and then I noticed something funny. The guy on the left of the frame walking to the right had walked by a few times and as I watched he would walk by her a few feet, turn around and walk started snapping pictures of them and this one finally arrived in my lap...the vision of the old and young, the stillness and the movement, the chaos and the perfect design, the color and the drab world we live in all came together for one second in my lens.

I am pretty sure the man on the left was either homeless or had some sort of disorder as I could tell he was talking to himself and obviously stuck in some pattern of movement...then I imagined both of them young and it made me think that we are all traveling together and some of us will be a beacon and others will never stop moving.

She seems so perfectly still and put together and regal...almost like she wasn't there at all...maybe she wasn't...maybe she was an angel watching over him...or me...or the street....sometimes i don't know if she was really there at all...she seems so out of place in this world of distraction and movement and life...the calm stillness of a watching eye....I wish I knew her name and her history...


Vintagedivva said...

This is truly touching.
The photograph is by far one of my favorite that you have taken to date. Simply brilliant!!!!!

lu said...

There are so many great stories just bursting out of this picture. Hmm... art and writing journals are such big sellers right now. How about a Photo journal? More of this type of your photos, and inspiration.... space to write...
I'm just sayin.

Justin Davis Davanzo said...

hmm Lu...i really like that idea!
thanks for your inspiration!

Anonymous said...

This really is a stunning photo and yes, I agree that you should have your 'next' book be a photo journal.

Lisa said...

Fabulous pic! Wow!

To piggy back Lu...
My friend and I have a practice each month of emailing a random picture to eachother. We have to write something...poem, short story, whatever comes to us...based on the picture.
I keep mine together in a photo journal.