XVIII

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1 June - 30 September 2006

Dedicated to my number three nephew, Michael Gallatin Huckins, number one in ways other than order of birth.

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Eyes Only For You

"The noblest function of an object is to be contemplated."   Miguel de Unamuno, 1864-1936

 

    All of the images of this exhibit are the result of two rolls of film shot over the course of one day in 2002 at a large shopping center in northern Virginia. I had brought my camera along that day in order to keep myself occupied while my wife Til got down to her annual winter holidays shopping spree. Here was an opportunity to indulge in some street photography - early twenty-first century style, I thought.

 

Kiosk. Tysons Corner, Virginia  2002  Charles Albert Huckins

    As I wandered along the busy corridors of the mall, primarily observing other shoppers, I began to have a feeling of being watched, myself. It finally dawned on me that my "surveillants" were peering out at me from posters or screens in store front windows. Most were gorgeous women who seemed to follow my every movement. No matter where I stood and looked, there was always some beautiful creature, staring back, it seemed, only at me! It was thus at the ripe old age of sixty that I really began to appreciate the genius of commercial photography firsthand!

     As I focused more precisely on the attentions of all these "admiring" women, I concluded that, at least for this brief moment, photography had superceded the use of full length mannequins in gaining our attention to the attractions within shops attempting to display their wares to best advantage. Those mannequins that did share the stage with these beautiful and beautifully photographed women mostly appeared beheaded or otherwise truncated. "Reality" suddenly appeared rooted in photography - all the more ironic in this age of anything-goes manipulation of the digital image! Incidentally, this is my first exhibit in which finished images were made from negatives manipulated directly in the computer (with Adobe's Photoshop CS2).

      In any event, I was highly flattered at the unwavering attentions of so many attractive women and so decided to return the compliment by capturing their likenesses, regardless of the distortions and reflections that would result because of the circumstances of our encounter. I intentionally shot a number of my admirers at various angles of approach in order to illustrate the ingenuity with which they were originally photographed: no matter where I stood, it seemed, there was my admirer gazing wistfully back, directly at me.

I was so enamored of all my new admirers that I had no problem in acceding to my wife's wish to return, a few weeks later, for another round of shopping. To my surprise, most of my new found friends had departed, with other attractions taking their places. On enquiry with a number of store personnel, I learned that the cycle for many such promotional phenomena can be as short as three weeks! Although I did take some likenesses of a few newcomers, all of the images in this exhibit are from my first infatuating encounter with those beautiful women of November. And although they are otherwise gone from public view, it is my pleasure here to share with you, dear viewer, their alluring eyes, now only for you...

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