Create: Cold Lonesome

“There is a procession on the plaza. Do you want to go?”


Cold seeps and curls around the edges of my body but my mind burns white-hot. Like a reflex this photography thing. I move as an individual in a sea of fellow humans. Darkness and light. There is nothing else, besides the unknown of things like dark matter and faith, of which I know almost nothing.

The leap has been made, by many. My faith lives in the backlit glory of shutter speeds and aperture, the sound of a motor drive or the rough grind of the rewind knob. I don’t know much else, but I know I don’t need much else.

Glasses fogged, dodging security and their flashlights, lined up waiting for a riot that will never come. Orange vests, arms waving to keep the hordes and their devices out of the most private of ceremonial parts. Just leave them be and listen. Watch, wait and pounce when the light is just so.

There is nothing else in this mode. There is only the hunt, the search for ingredients that make the visual cake. My cake different from yours. The taste both sweet and light and as bitter as the coldest of clear nights. Stars burning down through manmade layer upon layer, uncaring. We patter about assigning meaning. It’s just what we do.

Mere minutes pass and I’m called away, but I have the fix I so craved. Just a taste. Enough to remind me that this part of my life needs replenishment. I know this, and I have known this for quite some time. The remedy is right before me, staring back in silence as the temperature falls and my breath flashes forward like a dragon’s tongue, white and whispery.

10 Comments on “Create: Cold Lonesome”

  1. Hi Dan, my sight whas sucked into the first picture for minutes, doesn’t happen frequently in these days of visual abundancy. It’s light captured at is outmost best. And then your emotions poured over, it was a complete meal. Thanks.

    1. Thanks Reiner. That was the first image I made and I ended up shooting the entire event for less than ten minutes. We had a guest in our rental apartment who locked themselves out so we had to scramble away.

    1. Kurt,
      I can’t imagine. I do have a new project in mind. But my Zine collaboration, AG23 is coming to fruition in the very near future. This baby has taken a lot of my time and energy but I think it will be a good way to promote the work of others, mainly, and tell a lot of stories that may not see the light of day otherwise. I did see your submission as well. We are going to start on Issue Two in the near future. Will keep you posted.

  2. Yeah its a wonderful thing you guys are doing with AG23 I am excited for you. I can imagine it is a lot of work and requires a lot of time, energy and money to start. I would love to see it grow and get recognized and get sponsors from Magnum or Fujifilm etc and begin to drive itself.
    What are you hoping for with it in the future?
    Something like Burn magazine and be able to give grants out to emerging photographers, things like that?

    BTW, once a human being who loves making images… always a human being who loves making images. Even though you quit the professional life you will never stop making images! Enjoy it brother!

    1. Kurt,
      Oh ya, no plans to stop but no plans to “be” a photographer again. As for AG23, yes. Small stipends, podcast, channel, community. Connect contributors, share stories and interesting data. Just early days at this point but what we have coming should be worth a look.

  3. Love to you see your photos Mr. Milnor, but what I love the most is the way you explain why the image works. I am referring to the latest video on YouTube where you discuss why your image works for you. Amazing stuff, it’s like watching photography seminars for free. Can’t wait for more!!

    1. George,
      Thanks for that. I was hoping someone would find those interesting. More on the way.

  4. I feel very conflicted about photographing events like this — and most events. These smartphone/Instagram days, there are so many people who aren’t part of the event trying to photograph it. Getting in one another’s way (in MY way), and interfering with the event. (The orange vests?) A “memory” just popped up on Facebook, a video I made of a children’s Christmas procession in Oaxaca. An American tourist was smack in front of the kids, videoing them, encouraging them to perform for his camera — making it impossible for anyone else, including the kids’ parents, including ME, to photograph the event. And changing the event. I want to say, “I’m a real photographer and you’re not, I’m sensitive to the participants and you’re not, so get out of my way and stop bothering the participants.” But — should *I* be there?

    1. Nancy,
      There were probably less than five hundred people at this event but I would say 400+ of them were trying to film it with thier phone. The ENTIRE THING. And they were getting in the way. It just reminded me I can’t do any events in the mobile phone era. I have to work alone and on stories where there are no tourists.

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