photo of the month
from randy kato

Happy New Year!

I was having a hard time choosing a photo for this month. Usually the right photo will somehow make itself apparent, but I just wasn't seeing it this time.

I probably would have chosen something I shot of the recent winter solstice lunar eclipse had I not already featured another lunar eclipse shot as a previous photo of the month.

It seems like it would have been easy to find an appropriate image, something to do with the holidays or the new year. Yet nothing was emerging from the fog.

In fact, fog is a good analogy to what my selection process is like. There's a vast collection out there but at certain times some images emerge and become visible - at varying degrees - and then there's usually one that presents itself front & center as clear as the pigeon in this month's photo.

I finally realized that I had to step back and let go of the idea that a pigeon was going to just land in my lap this month. When I stopped squinting my eyes, trying to will something to appear out of the fog, I saw that the process itself, and my struggle to see through the haze, is the connection I was seeking. That led me to this image.

This is the Hudson River on a rare foggy day in Manhattan. I have always loved this picture, staring at it, getting lost in it. It's the same feeling I get when I look at one of my favorite paintings, Caspar David Friedrich's Wanderer above the Sea of Fog.

What draws me into these images is the clarity/obscurity/invisibility of things in the fog. By limiting our sense of sight it puts us at its mercy, revealing only what it wants us to see. At the same time this limited visual power unleashes the power of imagination and keeps me staring at a still image as if I expect something to emerge from the mist.

I know that hidden in the distance of this photo is New Jersey, but the fog lets my mind wander. I can imagine tall ships, pirates and sea monsters, or perhaps even the edge of a flat Earth falling off into nothingness... all right out there, just out of sight.


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