Joseph Woodard Multimedia

Frank Bette Gallery
"Alameda On Camera" - 2007

The gallery accepted forty exhibitors and had them draw areas of Alameda from a hat. Their photos of the life of the town had to be taken in the area they drew on the last weekend in March. Here are my two submissions. The Way the Wind Blows...Is Changing sold!

The Way the Wind Blows...Is Changing

The area I photographed for Alameda On Camera was the administrative center around City Hall. Rainy weather and other work limited my shooting time to 2 hours on Sunday morning. I had hopes of capturing something symbolic since not too many people were out on a cool, blustery day. For me, photography is a matter of seeing.

The Way the Wind Blows...Is Changing

Sometimes a confluence of symbols pops into place, a bit like Cartier Bresson's Decisive Moment, a recognition in a flash that the scene flying to one's eyes says something about what's going on. In front of the alley alongside the new library, as I traced out features on the street where I have covered so many demonstrations against the imperial thrust of government, the picture jumped at me. The wind literally blew the other way and turned back the symbol of the single minded course of action that has driven the United States into war. Stop. Go back. Wrong way. Capturing that moment is a bit tricky with a digital camera because the response time for a digital shot is longer than for a film camera. A sometimes agonizing heartbeat or two passes before the camera captures the image you see in the viewfinder. To catch it, you have to anticipate those 2 heartbeats. But the tempo of the flag snapping in the passing storm's wind allowed me to freeze what I saw in just a couple of attempts.

The Face

The Face

Whimsey was also possible that Sunday morning. It always is when I'm in a good mood, and Alameda is full of clever inside jokes. One was right down the alleyway alongside the Library. It was an impressive steel door, anchored in the brick wall of the building, adorned with an EBAY Alarm indication, and armed with a special number pad for controlling a combination lock, very secure. A tiny label read, "Friends of the Library" and I wondered, if friends go in this door, who can go in the front?

Another completely inexplicable item was a barely discernible note on cardboard taped inside one of the large, head-high and unopenable side windows that said, "If you need my attention, please TAP VERY LIGHTLY on the window."

Further on, in a city where folks fight over parking spaces, a huge, hand painted sign on an alley wall that ordered "NO PARKING" faced a parked car.

But I found the most charming archeological artifact in the patch of dirt fronting a dilapidated house on Alameda Street, the short block that connects the high school gym with the JavaRama coffee shop on Park Street. Someone must have attempted some repair work on the foundation, someone who didn't want to waste leftover concrete. They had puddled the still liquid remainder on the ground and punched in eyes, nose, and mouth. A piece of driftwood was laid in for a commodore's hat. Clover had grown up as the head of hair under the hat. And a torn piece of a coffee cup had blown up the street and fallen into the mouth, forming the tongue. What a people that would create such a fabulous face for me to find.

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