About Field Notebooks

MemphisBarbree-powerlines-001.jpg

The remnants of an afternoon thunderstorm rushed through the shallow, cement gutters, overwhelming them in places and spreading into the streets. I walked to the front door and paused for a moment to look into the kitchen at my mother’s back as she prepared dinner.  Before she knew I was there, I turned and walked silently out the front door. In my left hand was a red bandana tied around a candy bar, a pocket knife, my life savings and some other assorted provisions I thought I should have with me. I was going on a journey and I wasn’t sure when I’d be back, if ever. I walked down the wet street, rounded the corner, turned right at the next street and reached a large field with the giant wooden, two-legged power lines. I stood there looking through them eastward. They hummed and hissed high above me, like giant creatures of some strange, foreign mythology. I squinted far into the distance, trying to see what that eastern horizon and accompanying future held for me.  I could feel and sense something calling me, but no matter how hard I squinted,  I could only see grass, weeds, power lines and an eternity of horizon. Suddenly, a bolt of lightning cut the horizon in half. Its sound cracked and rolled across top of the grassy field toward me. A cool breeze from behind, stirred the tall weeds and grass in front of me and made the skin on my arms goose-bump. I stood there on the edge of a distant future somewhere out there in the horizon and from somewhere in me, common sense and some other knowing turned me around, sent me back up the block, up the street and into the front door. My mother was still busy in the kitchen. It wasn’t time to go yet. … I was four years old.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been fascinated by exploration, journeys, learning and mysteries. I’ve also always felt compelled to take notes and seek ways to share my experiences. If I think about it and try to explain it, I can come up with all sorts of reasons why, but at the base of it all, it’s just simply a fact of my life and being. It’s there like the horizon – it’s everywhere I turn, calling me, always out there in front of me no matter how far I travel, and yet, far back where I came from and, actually, always right where I stand.

I've created field notebooks to share some of the written and visual stories of my travels – current, past and future. If you would like to keep up with me, please consider subscribing here on my website - it's a lot more reliable than social media. I also have another section called Studio Notebooks that will be filling with thoughts more directly related to photographic techniques, thoughts and practice in the studio and in the field.

May my work enrich your world.

Light,

Memphis