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A visual idea often has a moment of life then dies, you know what I mean? Look, how often have you snapped a score of pictures but when processing time comes.... YUCK! What were you thinking when your finger twitched the shutter? It was even worse when you'd send away film and it took a week until two, three, even five rolls of slides came in the mail. You'd pull them out and always... always... always... your heart would drop. Oh there'd be a keeper or two, but overwhelmingly the idea died when the lens chute swallowed that burst of light.
Now we have tools to find what idea or feeling that other guy... the one who took the picture... the younger you... wanted to send to you when he clicked the shot. Look at this image for example. It was sunrise in the center of Middlebury, Connecticut. I'd never been there before and this mill race called me. It seemed so photogenic. And yet, when I looked at the images of the ruins of the old mill... There was so little there. Before. Now, after an hour of teasing the hues and textures here's the image the younger me filled the frame with. Now I can hear the roar of that water. I can feel the rumble under foot. I'm squinting again as the low morning sun gleams into my eyes. Is this really the scene as it was? Or is this image fiction? Know what? I don't care. You?