Monday, June 14, 2004

A Caravaggio moment

We spent the weekend at the Front Range Pagan Festival (one of three annual festivals in Colorado that I know of), held at a private campground southwest of Denver.

It's a low-key (sometimes too low-key) event, with lots of kids and dogs--no stages for performers, no communal kitchens, etc.

The image that I will take away, in fact, involves some of those kids. On Saturday night, as the drummers were drumming and people were singing, two of them, seated on camp chairs, were lost in a game of chess over to the edge of the bonfire circle. An older boy, maybe 12 or 13, shone a flashlight down on the board, while the orange light of the fire caught lit the sides of the players' faces, while also striking part of the older boy's features under his floppy Army-style boonie hat.

To add to the composition, a girl of about 3 years was peering in the shadow over the edge of the chessboard, uncomprehending but captivated by the movements of the chessmen.

Their stillness and the composition of the group were classical, and the lighting was worthy of Caravaggio or some other Old Master. I wished for my camera, but I don't think any film emulsion (or the digital camera) would have captured that little girl in the shadow.


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