The LukeyoutheU home page image. As you will notice, only a portion of this image is visible on most computer screens because of its size and/ or platform design. (The LyU Facebook and LyU Twitter cover images capture the most). In this, the expanded version, you can clearly see that the photo was taken from a bus, and the head of the passenger two rows in front of me; the passenger name is unknown. I was not, and am not, alone on this journey. I do not guess that the passenger will mind this unauthorized photo of the very top of their head. If that is you and you want the photo removed, contact me.
The photo was taken at the end of 2015, en route from Palm Springs, CA to a suburb of L.A.
Remarkably blue is the photo that the camera captured, but not how I remember it. It was bright and sunny, that day, even with the tinted windows, and the colors richer. This was the "real," "original," source photo, but the altered one above and used for the LyU home page better reflects what I felt and saw.
Why This Photo?
4 min read
Why this photo? Why did I choose this photo, a photo perhaps without obvious beauty, from among the hundreds I have taken, from the untold vast number available in the public domain, from those I might have purchased? Why this image on the home page of LukeyoutheU?
Here is why: the meaning I give to it and draw from it.
Any photo I chose for the front page of LukeyoutheU carried a big responsibility. I wanted it to be interesting, quite specific and also universal at the same time, showing a real place while also demonstrating our role in seeing potentially most situations as better than probably most would. Above all, I wanted it represent/ demonstrate the interconnectivity of humans, how everything is connected, just as the highways are, one road leading to another. In a single image that would not get old, that had a chance to continue to intrigue.
It starts with window framing. It is likely not clear to the casual or first observer, but we are looking out a window. We are in one sort of world, inside the bus, but our main focus is looking toward another. We are separated from the outside but only by something essentially invisible but real, glass. really, in the bigger sense, not separated at all: what happens outside influences us (the weather, traffic, road conditions, other drivers) and what happens inside has an effect on the outside, too (the good driving of the driver, the lives of the passengers and driver, who they affect at this moment and in the future).
The more one looks at the picture the more one finds going on. Vehicles are going by, and on their various journeys, and we are on one, and on our journeys, too. Do you see the burst of reflected sun on the SUV driving by? Highways, surface roads, bridges, houses, commercial buildings. Activity all around, and in. My taking the photo while on a moving bus, grabbing an image of one second of existence and time.
It is a still picture and yet it is known/ felt/ clear that all is in motion. Even when we are sitting perfectly still, inside of us things are moving. Even when we remain at one geographical place, the planet is taking us around, in continual motion.
Parts of the photo are pretty and even, possibly, inspiring (look at the expansive view, the small mountains in the distance; the colors and their surprising harmony; the apparent heat outside and the coolness of air-conditioning and royal and darker blue chairs within) and others less so.
We each get to, have to, choose our own points(s) of interest. Make our own choices of focus, attention. (See the green sign? Where is the photo taken, near/ in which towns or cities? Where is the eighteen wheeler with the red cab going, what is the truck carrying?)
There are reflections on the glass. One may not see them at first. They are not there in the sense that they do not have stable physical existence but they still exist. Ghosts and real.
The viewer, the photo-taker, the artist, you, are riding on a bus, which probably was not clear at first. But now you have placed yourself, the photographer. You are in a bus with others, unseen people, but not yourself driving. Someone else is carrying out that function. But you, the rider, is going to where you want and chose to go. This time you took a bus.
The photo is from “real life” but also photoshopped: the colors were heightened/ saturated, the whole image made to look painterly by computer. It is what we can do with life: to see things as they are, and also seeing them more to our liking, better. This is not denial of the physical/ material world; this is welcoming and receiving it, finding the beauty where it is. It is entirely possible others do not see it. Possibly, cannot see it. So be it. We see and live in and create our own beauty, and seek to find and share the good.
Even the usual of what is often considered a chore, the bus travel itself, has life in it. It was on a similar bus on another of the same trips that I met a man who has become a great friend. Even on trips where the obviously good does not come bursting through, there is still the fact and experience of being alive. Of being able to see and move and walk and talk. And think. And create. And envision.
It is not only where we are coming from, who we have been and who think we were; it is not only where we are, what we are doing, or with whom; or where we are going, what we hope to be doing, what we want to happen: it is the living/ creating/ finding/ making the good in and from all three. And sharing it. It is living Life. If we so choose.