David Halliday on Seeing, Really Seeing

Do you want elegance? Check out the work of David Halliday. I have, and did at the newly opened show at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. David's quietly elegant still lives are beautifully composed and have a meditative quality that, if you have ever tried, is difficult to achieve.

I am finishing a wonderfully written book titled, The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach, a book that uses baseball as the medium for exploring life's challenges.There was a passage I found really compelling about doing and being. "The shortstop has worked so hard for so long that he no longer thinks. Nor does he act. By this I mean that he does not generate action. He only reacts, the way a mirror reacts when you wave your hand before it...Sophie told him to relax, stop thinking, be himself, be the ball, don't try too hard. You could only try so hard not to try too hard before you were right back around to trying too hard. And trying hard, as everyone told him, was wrong, all wrong...The shortstoop has worked so hard for so long that he no longer thinks - that was just the way to phrase it. You couldn't choose to think or not think. You could only choose to work or not work. And hadn't he chosen to work? And wasn't that what would save him now? When he walked onto this field tomorrow he would carry a whole reservoir of work with him, the last three years of work with Schwartzy, the whole lifetime of work before that, of focusing always and only on baseball and how to become better. It was not flimsy,that lifetime of work. He could rely on it."

Anyone who has tried to compose a photograph knows what this is about. I have made many many images that feel contrived, trite and overworked. What I find so amazing about David's work is its presence, it's meditative quality and how we are able to experience these still lives without a middleman. David has somehow taken himself out of the picture and allowed us to have a primary experience with what we are seeing. No small feat.

From the Ogden Museum website...

"A master of light, New Orleans photographer David Halliday, produces lush and elegant images that are both classical and modern. Using window light to illuminate his subjects, Halliday’s direct formal approach offers a fresh take on the historic art prototypes of still life and portraiture. The simplicity of his visual language produces images that transcend time."

The Ogden Museum has had many wonderful shows...be sure to stop there if you are visiting New Orleans. Their exhibitions never disappoint!