Photography & Arts: Picture Perfect

Near the end of his novel The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald, with remarkable concision, sums up one of the great ironies of human existence. We live our lives in search of that one object we believe to be “commensurate with [our] capacity for wonder.” Fortunately, for most of us, that “capacity” is larger than any object we might invest with “wonder.” Inevitably, the “new” wears off anything we acquire, and we set our sights on something else. That is what keeps us going.

Photography, I suppose, represents my own personal search for that “object commensurate with [my] capacity for wonder.” Early in life, I was influenced by the great photojournalists whose images seemed to reflect , and make us appreciate anew, the wonders and ironies of human existence– Henri Cartier Bresson, Alfred Eisenstaedt, Margaret Bourke White, and Robert Capra, to name a few. I’ve been on a quest ever since to capture my own “decisive moments” as well as images that reflect the wonder, beauty, and ironies of our world as I understand and appreciate them.

Here, on display, please find some remnants of the existential journey that has been my life. My life and career have taken some unusual turns and twists, but the one constant has always been an abiding love of photography. In a very real sense, I’ve been wandering through life, trying to create my own reality with a camera. – Words from the featured photographer, Major Edward Palm.

Edward Palm
Originally from New Castle, Delaware, Edward F. Palm is a former enlisted Marine, a Vietnam veteran and retired U.S. Marine officer turned academic (Ph.D., Pennsylvania). He has taught at the U.S. Naval Academy and Glenville State College and has held dean appointments at Maryville University of St. Louis and Olympic College, in Bremerton, Washington. Palm is also a lifelong serious amateur photographer and an occasional freelance writer who considers photojournalism to be his “road not taken.” He lives in Bremerton, Washington.

I found this scene at the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge on the Eastern Shore of Maryland in 2004.

This monument to non-violence is in Malmo, Sweden. I took this photo in 2004

This is the ruin of the former Prefecture Industrial Hall, one of the few concrete and steel reinforced buildings in Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. The ruin has been preserved as a memorial and a reminder of the city’s tragic history. What caught my eye were the Japanese tourists posing in front of the ruin, just as American tourists might pose in front of one of our historical sites. It was 1984. At the time, I was a Marine officer stationed at the Marine Corps Air Station in Iwakuni.

This is a photo of kids photographing elephant seals at the Portland (Oregon) Zoo. It’s difficult to take really interesting photos of zoo animals. The more interesting subjects, in my experience, are the human reactions to the animals. I took the photo in 2007.

This is a photo of my aunt, Mrs. Josephine Sickenger, who was in the final stages of Alzheimer’s at the time. She could no longer speak or recognize me. But she still seems to have felt a connection with my son Daniel, whom she used to babysit when she was well. I took this photo in 1982 in Wilmington, Delaware.

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  1. […] favorite section here: 1. Spotlight Author: Sandra Beasley 2. Poetry Section: Powerful Poetics 3. Photography & Arts Section: Picture Perfect 4. Reviews: ‘Sigh No More’- Mumford & Sons 5. Creative Nonfiction: Poor North […]

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