Yesterday three friends and I went to a very interesting small Texas town, a very Central Texas quaint town that like most is struggling to stay alive. There is something like (I believe) twenty-seven homes in Calvert that are on the National Register of Historical Homes. Not bad for a town with a population of less then two thousand people.
Most photographers would come home with gorgeous photographs of early twentieth century architecture, although often in considerable need of upkeep. I did shoot a few. Not sure they are gorgeous, haven’t seen them yet because I did most on Alcy’s camera. With the borrowed camera and lens that I was using I had to be three-quarters of a block or farther away to include a full two story Victorian house.
Interestingly, or at least interesting to me, as I processed these photographs I was not concentrating on the quaint beauty of Calvert as much as I was focusing on the words of Frederick Sommer.
Sommer made two statements that I find relevant to these photographs. First, he said that it is not possible to teach a photographer to see. Seeing is something innate within the photographer and not teachable.
But more importantly what I am seeing in these few photographs is Sommer’s statement that we never travel into unfamiliar territory. Regardless of where we go we carry with us what we are likely to see. I see that very much in these photographs. That does not diminish my enjoyment of the trip nor of the photographs. I just find it interesting. It causes me to question whether or not I need to work on expanding what it is that I see. I think I do that but in terribly small steps. Maybe I am too comfortable or get too much pleasure where I am currently mired.
Did I capture the flavor of Calvert in my photographs? It definitely is not the ‘tourist’ version of Calvert. It probably is not the Calvert residence’s version of Calvert. But more importantly to me, it is my version of Calvert. Now truthfully to write that in it’s entirety would require several more days in Calvert. Someday, I would like to do that.
I feel that several of the photographs I took speak directly to the eye and sensibilities of a few of the residents of Calvert—maybe to the creativity they wish to express. I hope so. Granted, most of these included residents are transplants seeking refuge from the bigger world. There are probably a thousand reasons that some people are attracted to small Texas towns. Maybe they just long to return to a simpler, quieter, more connected world—sort of like me but with more guts.
Like most small Texas towns, Calvert has one street for commerce. That is Main Street. It is also Texas Highway 6. Driving through Calvert on Hwy 6 is the only impression that most non-residents will ever get of Calvert. On my first trip through a year or so ago I noticed a yellow painted manikin riding a yellow bicycle and holding the Texas state flag. That is when I decided that someday I would be going back to Calvert. All of the following photographs were taken on Main Street or in the businesses along Main Street.
|The Owner of Nature's Art|
|Couple Inside the Ticket Booth at the Old Movie Theater|
|Decoration Inside the Rusty Duck|