Thriving in Place: Emmy Randol - Fig. 19
16 x 24", digital print
The photograph, Fig. 19, is the result of a confluence of ideas and practice. Back in May, one of the assignments in Becky Jaffe’s photo class was: Create a photograph inspired by your books. Twenty-five years ago, I bought a used book, Envisioning Information written by Edward R. Tufte. Tufte was interested in effectively expressing complex data in visual ways. Being a numbers person, I had been attentive to the scientists, governors, mayors and talking heads expounding on graphs, peaks and flattening curves to present the news of COVID-19. In response to the assignment, I set out to present the deadly story we were watching on TV with my own visual design. I chose sticks from my fig and maple trees and dried beans from my garden for the graph and its stark message.
I often use natural materials to construct images to photograph and to see where my curiosity and imagination lead me. This practice is a direct result of being a grandmother. Now that my grandchildren are older and off to college and beyond, I continue to play with blocks, sticks, and colored paper. My camera documents the results. Play is work. If you don’t think so, try making a line with beans. Play takes us to new places in our own backyard. Play gives perspective.
My first foray into photography began in the darkroom set up in my family’s basement for my high school yearbook. Other students introduced me to the wonder of a piece of paper immersed in a bath of chemicals to produce a picture.
Today, wonder collects from noticing light and shadow, attending to nature in place or gathered, and following these interests. I practice serious play, occasionally with amusement, to design for my camera’s translation to image.