It’s Coming on Christmas


Nighthawks at the diner.
Nighthawks at the diner. Part two. 

” It’s coming on Christmas. They’re cutting down trees. They’re putting up reindeer. And singing songs of joy and peace. Oh I wish I had a river. I could skate away on. But it don’t snow here. It stays pretty green. I’m going to make a lot of money. Then I’m going to quit this crazy scene. I wish I had a river. I could skate away on. I wish I had a river so long. I would teach my feet to fly. Oh I wish I had a river. I could skate away on. ” —   “River,” Joni Mitchell, 1970, from the album “Blue.”

Just like my photograph, Joni Mitchell really never intended for “River” to be a Christmas song. It was set near Christmas. But, it wasn’t about Christmas. Yet, it did become a Christmas song. It has been covered 432 times for all manner of Christmas albums. It has become a modern jazz standard.

So too, my picture isn’t really a Christmas picture. It feels like one. It is really an homage to Edward Hopper’s 1942 painting “Nighthawks at the Diner.” To be sure, it hasn’t been looked at 432 times. Maybe a few times, but not like that. Certainly, nobody has asked to make a painting of it.

And, Christmas? I don’t know. Maybe it’s the colors. A lot of red and green. Maybe it’s something else. Something deeper. The only thing that I’m sure of is that art should make you feel, rather than just record. I can only speak for myself, but this one makes me feel.

The picture. More or less, the same old thing. F8 and be there. The only post production I did was to tone it down some. Originally it was very bright. Very energetic. That didn’t suit its mood.

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23 Comments

  1. Love the combination of festive and melancholia in this photo; taking the theme of Hopper’s painting one step further. The _frisson_ of the two emotions makes for an intriguing, compelling moment in time.

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  2. your photography creates a mood and a feeling…as in this one…a painterly nostalgic mood…i always appreciate your compositions and i learn a little more too…have a wonderful day Ray! smiles ~ hedy 😀

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    1. Thank you. That’s where I want to go… feeling is what I’m after. As we all know, everybody seems to be able to take a picture of a thing. The internet is loaded with them. The real trick is to express a feeling and have people get that. 🙂

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      1. Oh, I’m just tired from being on the road. We start again in February and won’t get done until around Sep. Apparently Toronto loves her. We had to add a second show. You Canadians. :))))

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  3. The colors, for sure, but also the sense of hospitality — which is a big Christmas theme, the divine hospitality, the manger, the reciprocity of warm reception in the midst of night, which frames this window and its humanity and warmth. These people in the window are somehow rescued and restored in being here, I feel.

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      1. I’m going to turn the back end of Storyteller into my Laskowitzpictures website and dumb my commercial site. I have to train myself to use Instagram because for me that’s like sketch pad, but I had a potential client want to see that and I thought uh, oh. Luckily, they looked over here…

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  4. I have never listened to that song … But loved a song by her called “Both Sides” (I hope I got it right!)… I will check out “River” right away… thanks for sharing… happy holidays to you! 😀

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