I had the opportunity to go to the opening of a photography exhibit last night. My friend Linda had eight photos in the show, so Jason and I went to show our support and to hobnob among the artistically inclined.
As soon as we got there, I realized my mistake. The people there were all dressed in fancy clothes from Chico’s and Coldwater Creek, while I was in my St. John’s Bay cords (on sale at Penney’s!) I own one dress from Chico’s, which I found at a consignment shop. I suppose if I’d worn it I’d be worried
all night that someone would recognize it and say “Hey! I used to own the same dress, until I donated it to the poor.”
One of the wonderful qualities that Linda possesses is that she is not at all pretentious. When I apologized for wearing Penney’s, she waved me off and admitted that she too had forgotten her ascot at home (though she was dressed much nicer than I was.) She pointed out her photography, which included crisp, clear photos of lighthouses, monuments, and a beautiful shot of sunrise over the Atlantic, the wake of a boat glistening on the water.
These photos made sense to me. I could recognize what they were of and could appreciate their beauty. She has a great shot of the gate at Fort Griswold, which looked like a cemetery.
Personally, I love a good cemetery, and this particular photograph evoked a warm, fuzzy feeling inside.
Some of the other photography displayed had me stumped. One guy had a whole series of close-ups of what appeared to be rust. I squinted. I turned my head sideways. Finally, I had to admit my ignorance and ask Linda what, exactly, the pictures were meant to convey.
“Rust,” Linda confirmed.
Color me silly, but when I see an old water heater on the side of the road, I don’t stop to take pictures. I knock on the owner’s door and give them directions to the town dump. Clearly, I don’t have an artist’s eye.
One artist had won honorable mention at an art show in Greenwich. His photograph still displayed the ribbon he'd earned, even though this exhibit was taking place in New London, which is about as opposite from Greenwich as you can get. Maybe the thing to do among photographers is to collect ribbons at different galleries and display them at every subsequent show, like people who collect pins at Disney World (a hobby I also don’t understand.) "Is that normal?" I asked Linda. She shook her head.
I have to assume this guy was trying to brag about being recognized at a show that took place in the richest town in the country, but really, what he was telling everyone was that nobody in Greenwich bought his photograph. Artists are funny that way, I guess.
The ascots were getting thick in the room. It was time for Jason and I to go. We congratulated Linda on her gallery opening and headed for the door.
“Love those pants,” one woman said, stopping me.
“Thanks,” I said nervously. She was dressed in Vera Wang.
“My housekeeper owns the same pair,” she smiled.
Yup. This crowd was definitely outside of my comfort zone.