The idea for a essay based on direction came from Cee’s Which Way photo challenge by way of Bulldog Travels: Dark Hedges. After hours of reviewing old photos, I had lots to draw from because this is a subject that I am sensitive to as I shoot.
I find this fascinating because photographs lead us in so many ways.
Straight lines provide a great symmetry in a photograph and can a lead you directly to the end. They can provide all the answers. There are no questions about “Where are we going?”
Or they can lead you in but leave you with no path to follow. The straight lines pull you in and point the way but how you get there is up to you.
The way may be clear but it might be ephemeral.
But, what happens when the straight lines offer you other paths?
What happens when the straight lines leave you wondering about the future? They might lead you in but not give you an end. Do you need the answer?
The straight lines of the architecture might point the way but have no bearing on the path available.
Curving lines might lead you down a circuitous path with questions along the way but the answer is there. You know the endpoint, just not the path.
Then again, the way may be clear but you don’t want to know more.
One of the things that I love about boating or flying is that the way is clear but the path is not set. Sure, there is a course or bearing but we are not necessarily walking in the exact footsteps of others.
When you are fighting a grass fire, the way is clear; you stay on the fire’s edge. However, the path is ever changing. One gust of wind and you could be racing in another direction.
Snowy days are a dogs best friend. There is no correct way. They don’t have to stay on the trail. Their path from smell to smell is as circuitous as ours, picking our way through the forest.