This fabulous and iconic picture, by the great photojournalist known as Chim, was taken in 1947 on Omaha Beach, in Normandy, where massive slaughter had been seen just a few years before. It’s now in a show called “We Went Back: Photographs from Europe 1933-1956 by Chim”, at the International Center of Photography in New York. This is just about the most lyrical image that Chim ever shot, and there’s something especially great about his rare use of color film for it. We mostly think of this era, and its horrors, as having happened in black and white, so it’s lovely that an image of recovery should glow, Oz-like, in soft polychrome.
© Chim (David Seymour)/Magnum Photos
All of these…so needed right now in my life.
“You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
call to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.”
― Mary Oliver
“Listen—are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life?”
― Mary Oliver
And this. Oh God, this.
“The most regretful people on earth are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising, and gave to it neither power nor time.”
It spreads from my lungs to my heart, which pushes it around my body at 72 beats per minute. And when it reaches my brain, my hippocampus, my memory muscle, I imagine taking a blow torch to it all. Running through the streets, torching everything in my sight. Driving a wrecking ball into the highrises, the strip malls; breaking the roads down into bite size pieces. Reducing it all to rubble. Then, finally, when it’s all leveled, when I can see for miles and miles, once the smoke and dust has cleared, I would think, “Ah, now this feels like home to me.”