The Infinite Pleasure of Ordinary Life

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This series captures everyday moments. I was 16 the first time I made an image like this.

It was 1975. A passing-period bottleneck halted progress up the stairwell of my small school. Impatient, I stood with my notebook pressed against my chest, watching the boys lope downward.

One in class of 89 students, I had known my classmates since kindergarten. Our small town did not have a middle school; grades 7 through 12 were housed together, with the elementary school next door. By the time I reached that stairwell, everything and everyone around was familiar, and I often chafed against the sameness of our days.

On that day, however, I was suddenly overcome by a desire to capture that familiarity — the beauty of the mundane. Unless I did something important it would wash into the flat sea of lost moments.

Following the light from the window on the landing below to the well-known faces of the descending students, I observed each detail. Closing my eyes tightly, I made a mental picture. It was the first in a life-long practice of capturing the infinite pleasure of ordinary life.

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