Photos by Elizabeth Vincent Photography
Being given the opportunity to have a photo exhibit is cool. I wish I could use a mature or more artistic word to describe the feeling, but it is simply a cool experience. Additionally it is a surreal-out-of-body-experience; it is akin to being present at your own funeral.
At first you are in a room all by yourself. Then slowly people arrive. Some friends, some family, some strangers, all arrive one by one. The rooms fill up and I think to myself “OK, this is turning out alright.”
There I stand, surrounded by my photography. I watch as people walk around the room taking in my work. I stand waiting to be judged. It's comparable to a life review but instead of being judged for your sins people discuss your photography.
People walk around the room picking out their favorite photos. After a while they make their way over to me. They place their hand on my shoulder and then in a polite and soft voice they tell me how talented that I am (seriously surreal).
They go on to ask me to describe how I created these photos. My standard answer is “the other 10,000 photos sucked” and “light and tripod.”
Next they excuse themselves as the next person waiting in line starts the process all over again. Truly it's like being awake at your own wake. If you ever get the chance to attend my funeral, please come. It looks as if it's going to be a good time; lots of photos and lots of drinks.
As the night went on the wine flowed and strangers became friends.
My favorite philosophy about art is: “Arts only purpose is to serve.” It was nice to be a witness to people enjoying each other. Looking at the photography became secondary to the experience of enjoying the night out. It was nice that my work brought this crowd together for an evening.
For me, one of my best-loved experiences of the evening was to listen to people talk about their memories of what the photographs mean to them. They would go on to tell me about nights of watching sports, celebrating holidays and walking through downtown with friends.
Photographing Pittsburgh has been an eight year project (so far). My goal is to document Pittsburgh for 50 years. In the past eight years I have seen the skyline change. I have seen the riverfront come alive with runners, bikers, families and new love. I have seen the night skies filled with fireworks, fog and lights of the season.
Pittsburgh has become my mistress and my muse.
A special thank you goes out to my wife, first for always being the hottest girl in the room in my eyes, and second for letting me live my dreams. Nothing is real until I share it with you. Pittsburgh may be my mistress but you are my forever.