What Makes a Great Photo, Coincidences


MacLean, Virginia, 1978 (from “American Prospects”)
© Joel Sternfeld

Jörg’s What Makes a Great Photo? post has had me thinking. Rather than articulate in writing what makes a great photo for me, I thought I’d find one to share here. While entertaining what photograph to post, I kept going back to one that I had written about in a recent essay, a photograph of Joel Sternfeld‘s of a scene in which a fireman, dressed for the job, examines a display of pumpkins at a small market while a house is on fire in the distance. The image, for many reasons, is a great photograph.

So, as I finally decided on the image, I thought I’d post it this evening. When I came home, I made the usual rounds and saw that Jen had made a post about MacLean, Virginia, 1978 and how this image is suddenly everywhere. While, I hadn’t experienced it being suddenly everywhere it had been stuck in my mind and on my desktop background since writing my essay a few weeks back.

It gets even more ironic as I accidently — don’t ask how — purchased a copy of American Prospects along with another book two days ago. Fortunately, I wanted the book anyway. I justify the additional purcahse by it being my birthday a week from today — a little present for myself, I suppose.


IM with Jen Bekman at 12:33 AM, 2007

I was IMing with Jen about all this irony and couldn’t help myself in taking a screenshot. Coincidentially, she’s talking about a coincidence of her own in the capture.

Yes, 18% neutral grey is my background color.

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