At the end of the summer, when I was asking people to pick out photos for me to talk about, my Kat picked this one. It has sat in my “to post” folder every since, waiting for me to figure out what to say about it, which is stupid because it’s one of my favorite photos that I took in 2009.
But I had a terrible time quantifying why I loved it so much.
I can tell you concrete facts about this photo; I can tell you that the photo title on Flickr says the New Familiars but it’s actually a Holy Ghost Tent Revival set list, caught on camera between sets. I can tell you that the set list is damp and destroyed because Patrick knocked a bottle of water into Eric’s pedal board and then stomped all over his own setlist while he was playing. I can tell you that the 506 was barely half-full that night, in contrast to other nights since that we’ve seen Holy Ghost nearly sell the place out. I can tell you that the next night shep. and I drove to Norfolk, VA, 400 miles round trip to see those two bands play together again, on a tiny stage in a venue that ended up being a fairly upscale Italian restaurant.
It was two months before an 18 hour trip to Chattanooga for nothing more than driving for the sake of driving, and six boys from Greensboro, a trip that changed my life in so many ways I can’t even talk about them. These days if we drove to Norfolk for those boys, we’d barge into their corner booth when we got there, make them shove over and share their food and their beer and their laughter. But that night we chatted with them briefly and accepted early, tenative hugs and thanks-for-coming, and then we left them to their dinner.
I look at this photo, and it’s a harbinger of so many things to come, tiny moments in 2009 that would keep me going in that year of awful. Standing on a misty late night street in Chattanooga, asking a simple question and being told yes; sitting on the floor of Trekky House in Carrboro under Christmas lights; leaning against stages in Greensboro and Bristol and Raleigh and Chapel Hill.
This photo means a lot to me. It isn’t technically perfect, and most people would never see in it what I see; most people wouldn’t stop to take it. But that’s why I shoot, for the hidden moments behind the image. This photo holds some of my secrets from 2009, broken hearts and triumphs, and even if no one else knows they’re hidden in it, I do, and I know what they are. And that’s why I love this photo.