More than any other art form, photography —— whether it’s photojournalism, fine art, or family Polaroids —— somehow speaks to a humbler side of me. An image appears and I project myself into that scene, especially when it’s figurative. And, somedays, the editorial process can be personally challenging and, at times, downright effacing.

When spirits are low, I look for refuge in music or images. Richard Misrach’s photo (above) from his “On the Beach” series was the magic elixir. The swimmers are dots and yet they matter. A person could be floating alone on a small swell, but Misrach reminds me that somebody else swims in that same sea. Nature’s gradients make for nice company too, non?

For the next year, an exhibition of his work is traveling the country. I’ll be making the trip to the Henry in Seattle or the National Art Gallery in DC in 2008 (can’t quite afford the flight to Hawaii) just to see them in their larger format and be enveloped. It must be overwhelming, and humbling, much like when I first saw Gursky’s work up close. Misrach’s monograph will be on my wish list, but, unfortunately, a print won’t be.

Untitled #394-03, 2003 — from On The Beach Photo © Richard Misrach Courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco, Marc Selwyn Fine Art, Los Angeles and Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York

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