I’m not referring to Usain Bolt here (although I do have a picture of him on the blog: see What an amazing photograph of an incredible athlete). Rather I’m referring to the rabbit that has recently started to appear in our garden (see A new visitor) and which one of our granddaughters has named “Bolt” after the famous Usain – I suspect because the rabbit ran so quickly.
I was walking the dog around the lake when I started to think about why I take photographs. In my reading I’ve been advised that it’s not enough to take a picture just because I liked the way something looks. I need to know why I liked it. To know what I was feeling when I took the picture.
For some reason I started to think about why I’d taken the picture of the rabbit. One reason was I thought that it was really cute. A second was that our six year old granddaughter was really excited to see it. A third was that it’s not every day that we see a rabbit in our garden and I wanted to document the occasion.
Then my thoughts wandered to rabbits in general and all kinds of thoughts came flooding back:
I have a clear memory from when I was young of seeing a rabbit with milky-white eyes. It was quite traumatic and I later learned that it was a victim of a horrible disease called Myxomatosis that appeared in the UK in the 1950s and decimated the rabbit population (fortunately rabbits breed – well like rabbits – and they the rabbit population in the UK has since recovered and also developed immunity to the disease).
I also remembered my grandfather, who was a bit of a poacher who would from time to time bring home rabbits for dinner (or tea as we used to call it). I hadn’t realized that rabbits were for eating so this was quite a shock. I was very close to my grandfather and it was nice to have this memory of him return.
Watership Down – a book about rabbits. I started to read it our kids at bedtime when they were quite young. We never did finish it!
Could it be that, unknown to me, these thoughts were hovering around just below the surface and influencing my decision to take the picture?
I had also read that a photograph should be able to stand by itself and should not need words to explain it. All well and good, but I doubt that I could come up with a picture of a rabbit that by itself could conjure up all of these feelings – unique to me – in another person.
Or maybe I just liked seeing a cute furry animal in a place where I didn’t expect to see it?