Wednesday, August 17, 2005

On Assignment: Sherman, Texas-Day Three

"Five Gone" by Wes Aldridge

This one was powerful. I was driving down the highway and I looked over and saw these five brown crosses sticking out of the ground. I knew they stood where some people had died. I have seen roadside memoriams hundreds of times in the past. They have always intrigued me. I needed to take a closer look.

I parked and walked upon the scene. The ground was scorched and black for a good thirty feet in close proximity to the crosses. Small pieces of charred and twisted metal were scattered in the ashes. The scene told a silent story of destruction and I know the car accident must have been beyond terrible.

It was akward just standing there. It was the prologue of a great tragedy in so many people's lives. I struggled with making this shot. Moral concern tugged at my mind. I wanted to record this moment in my life with a photograph, but at the same time, I didn't want to cheapen the meaning of those crosses standing in the tall Texas grass. I decided to shoot.

I laid flat on the ground, careful not to disturb any of the ashen metal pieces that rested in the patches of blackened earth. I put the camera on the ground, forcing my right cheek to touch the ground as well... and click.

I decided to show the serene beauty of the situation, rather than show the burned ground and the sadness that it testified to. I feel like I properly handled this shot in a delicate manner.