Philip Clarkson Elliott (1903-1985), Paris, 1929; gelatin silver print, Overall: 6 1/2 x 8 3/4 in. (16.5 x 22.2 cm); Gift of Virginia Cuthbert Elliott, in memory of Philip Clarkson Elliot, 1987
For Once, Then, Something
On View Friday, September 9, 2011–Saturday, June 30, 2012
Photographer John Opera inaugurates an occasional series of exhibitions curated by artists in the Burchfield Penney collection with the exhibition For Once, Then, Something. The exhibition takes its title from the poem by Robert Frost of the same name. Works selected address Opera’s interest in perception, cliché and self-knowledge.
Robert Frost (1874-1963)
"For Once, Then, Something"
Others taunt me with having knelt at well-curbs
Always wrong to the light, so never seeing
Deeper down in the well than where the water
Gives me back in a shining surface picture
My myself in the summer heaven, godlike
Looking out of a wreath of fern and cloud puffs.
Once, when trying with chin against a well-curb,
I discerned, as I thought, beyond the picture,
Through the picture, a something white, uncertain,
Something more of the depths—and then I lost it.
Water came to rebuke the too clear water.
One drop fell from a fern, and lo, a ripple
Shook whatever it was lay there at the bottom,
Blurred it, blotted it out. What was that whiteness?
Truth? A pebble of quartz? For once, then, something.