Soundtrack Of A Photograph-Photo Discoveries

“Take down, she said those old photos
In one sentimental dose”

Like most people, when my wife and I go away on vacation, or even a short weekend trip, photos are taken to preserve the memories. There is something about the simplest change of scenery, or change in the weather from our daily lives that makes me ready to pull the camera out at those times. It is invigorating to feel the inspiration peaking as I look through my camera lens at something new to my eyes, however inconsequential it may be to the average person. It helps with preserving those memories. After all that is part of what photography is all about.

So it was that just about a year ago we headed up to Connecticut to visit friends. Even though it was September, in New York the weather had not turned to autumn yet, so a weekend away visiting good friends was made even more enjoyable by the fact that it was out in full force in New England. Crisp, cool mornings, fresh air, stately old colonial homes, roadside farms bursting with fresh apples and pumpkins, and of course the sheer beauty of the trees turning shades of oranges, yellows and reds. The classic New England scene in other words. Add to that, the particularly quiet, and less developed area that our friends live in and you had the makings of a great little photo excursion for me.

It is hard for me when I am confronted with good scenery and good weather (actually, bad weather can make for some good photographs too)  to refrain from walking around with my camera in hand.   Our friends had suggested we check out an acoustic music festival in a nearby town while various shuttling of children  back and forth between soccer games was happening. It was a small scale affair on a cordoned off street and we halfheartedly listened to a few acts in between strolling around the small New England town, which itself was dripping with those typical New England stereotypes.

Eventually, we grabbed a beer and sat down on the sidewalk to listen to a singer who had just taken the stage. After the first or second song my wife and I looked at one another with that ‘Oh Yes’ she is good kind of look we get when we both simultaneously like something. We consulted the schedule to see what this new (to us) singer’s name was, and when her set was over, I went to the merchandise area to pick up her CD.  So it was that we came to the music of Christa Gniadek, and her most recent album called Leaving Boston. Her songs have a laid back, mostly acoustic feel, wrapped around bittersweet songs with her wistful vocals. As I have continued to listen to the album in the past year, I find that what I like about her songs the most is that they are open ended quite often, leaving out the obvious part of the story to be filled in by you, the listener. The best example of this might just be in the album’s title cut-

A thought occurred to me the other day while I was listening to the album once again. Subconsciously I may have been yearning for some of that autumn weather to come back since summer seems to be lingering as I write this, but what I realized was that for me, it is not always the photograph that conjures up the memory of a place you visited. For me it can also be a song, or an album that once played, brings that moment to life again.  You might think well sure, so does any memento of a trip after all. Some bit of household decoration or antique, a book purchased in some dusty old bookstore, or a bottle of wine from a local vineyard all do the same thing in many ways. We may look at them and say, “Do you remember that day we bought this?”

Though the memory of buying that artifact is still present for me it is often just that, a memory of the millions of memories one has filed in their brain. But if you add a photograph and a snippet of music into the situation, that memory has more of an emotional pull to it for me and it becomes special. So instead of it being merely a memory of a day we bought some particular artifact, it becomes a memory of the entire time away. Of leaving the city and going somewhere for a get away. Of good friends. Of the weather. Of new places seen. Of laughter and new memories. Of new photographs taken. Of new music that is meaningful to you. Of singers like Christa Gniadek, whose songs I hope you explore on your own as you head out on your own discoveries.

***Update 10/1/2015***

Christa is very excited to announce a new album she is working on called Hard Summer. But she needs your help. Below is a link to her Kickstarter campaign. It is wonderful to see an artist excited about a project, and this could be a huge one for her, so if you are able to give anything, please do. You will be supporting someone whose name you will be hearing more from.

Leaving Boston-Written By Christa Gniadek

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All Photographs By Robert P. Doyle


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