Tangier Island, VA – Nikon D750 24-70 lens at 70mm f/8 ISO 100

It was our 52nd wedding anniversary. The memory took place on Tangier Island in the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia September 11, 2015. The island is eroding; it may be gone, according to some, in thirty years, so maybe you have time to put it on your bucket list. The population of five hundred or so people cater to the main-landers of Virginia and Maryland who come on day-trips to learn about the Island, peoples way of life and taste the local seafood. The people, the homes, a way of life may eventually disappear; if it does, this will be a disappearance that cannot be rebuilt. The Island people will gradually drift to another place and Tangier Island will only be a memory like many other transitions and tragedies in life. We walked every foot of the island in our two night and three days stay in one of the Bed & Breakfast establishments. There may be only a dozen motorized vehicles on the Island. The lone police officer has a motorized golf cart.

The image was taken on our last day. It was threatening rain, but never did. It was a photographer’s sky with billowing clouds and great contrast. The image has two houses lined up like it was only one and actually there is a third roof beyond the two obvious ones. The picket fence, the double shepherd’s hook plant hanger and the arbor catch your attention to the center and left. The bench, on the right, invites you to sit for a while and the towel is ready to wipe off the sweat. The nearby bicycle, on the ground, says, “Take a ride.” Maybe the hardly noticeable TV dish antenna says, “Stay inside! It’s too stormy outside – relax.” The storm door is embossed with a flying Canada goose. The weather-beaten roof that needs to be worked on may indicate the owner is saying, “Why replace it? We won’t be here that much longer.” While the other owner’s roof looks new and says, “I’m not ready to give up, yet.” You may see or feel other messages in the image. I would like to hear them.

The official Tangier Island website is here Tangier Island.

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There are certain images which always bring a smile to my face, and this one I call “Wedding Album” is one of them.

The day is Thursday June 2, 2011, and Naples Italy is hot, humid, noisy and bustling with life. I’m roaming the streets photographing and I hear a loud noise around the corner. When I arrive, I observe a wedding party and their photographer surrounded by a large crowd. The photographer is shouting out directions and the wedding party is happily complying. I immediately begin taking pictures non-stop, standing near, and moving in unison, with their photographer. After ten minutes everyone takes a break and I begin walking away.

I feel a tap on my shoulder, and when I turn around the wedding party’s photographer is motioning me to move next to the wedding party. Suddenly, I’m surrounded by the women in the picture and their photographer is taking pictures of us. It turns out everyone in the wedding party saw me taking their picture and wanted to turn the tables on me and have my picture taken with them. The wedding party was laughing, the crowd was laughing, and not only was I laughing, but I was putting on quite the performance that day. Everyone was having a great time. It became a special moment!

When I look at this picture today it makes me think of two things. First, I wonder what others think was going on in this picture when I took it. I later learned there’s an Italian custom for the wedding party to rub the bride’s gown for good luck. The bride was certainly enjoying the moment. And then I also wonder if I somehow ended up in the final wedding album. On the one hand it would seem illogical for that to occur. On the other hand, that hot, humid, noisy memory, stopped forever in time, brought so much joy into so many people’s lives, that maybe the bride wanted to look at that image, remember that scene, and have it bring a smile to her face too!

View more of Steve’s excellent work –  HERE

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