In my last blog post about the first Crusade pop-up at the High Museum of Art I mentioned an amazing experience with someone who fell in love with a photograph from The Ten. I promised more, and I am a woman of my word. In addition to the Local Photographer Showcase, where ten local photographers were on hand to give away ten prints apiece to anyone who engaged with the event and loved their work, we had images from The Ten on display.

People were encouraged to browse this work, and if they fell in love, to make a heart-felt plea to convince us the image belonged to them.

Well, I didn't expect this -

from Janece Shaffer, pop-up attendee:

"Last week I heard about the Crusade for Collecting on WABE (our local NPR station) and what intrigued was the idea of artists – photographers – giving away their work in exchange for a passionate response to it. The story suggested that interested folks might “earn” a piece of art by performing a song, writing a poem, or making an impassioned plea about that art. My daughter and I decided to check it out – at the very least it promised to be great people watching. It was much more than that.

We spotted the blue VW van on the Plaza of the Woodruff Arts Center and headed over. There was a long table with 10 different photos displayed on it and behind the table stood the photographers who had made these images – images as varied as close up kisses, moutainscapes, and a paneled wall with two moose heads on display. It was the chance to meet the artists and hear about the piece, their process and whatever else you wanted to ask. It was an easy-to-talk-to-crowd and we were glad we came. With just a conversation, you could easily score any of the 6 by 9 photos on the table – how great is that?

On the other side of the van were larger images – created by 10 other photographers from the region and beyond. My daughter and I were taken with many of them but then we came across a photo of a young boy – it looked like summer – his face dotted with freckles, his daring gaze direct to camera, his skinny arms filled with too many water balloons. My response to the piece was visceral – pure delight. It had whimsy, innocence and young-boy-mischief and I wanted to take it home with me. And before I knew it, I was talking with Jennifer Schwartz asking if I could write a short play in response to this photograph. We had come to watch but instead here I was making a case – and why? Because a photograph had gotten inside me and I needed to keep it there.

I’m excited to write the piece. To hear what this young boy has to say to me. Thank you, Warren for creating such a vivid portrayal and for allowing me the chance to live with it."

Warren Harold image from The Ten, selected by pop-up attendee Janece Shaffer

Warren Harold image from The Ten, selected by pop-up attendee Janece Shaffer

She saw it, and it was hers.  Art can be like that.  Beautiful.