SHER: July 4th Art as a New Way of Seeing

Cape Charles Wave

July 10, 2013

Photography is a new venture for me.  I’m about nine months into it.I never wanted to use a camera because I thought it would separate me from whatever I was experiencing.Upon buying one, I established a firm rule: If the camera ever gets in the way of feeling the wonder in front of me or saving someone or something, ditch the camera.  Staying faithful to this rule allows me to shoot freely.

I’ve discovered a camera allows me to experience something over again.  Most importantly, I  see things I missed in the actual moment.  I am less interested in re-presenting the action than in conveying the feeling it stirs in me. Here are a few shots from the 4th of July that I re-lived.

Art is a way of seeing the ordinary in a new way.

I got a late start to the fireworks.  Traveling down the driveway, we headed for the lights in the sky.  “Some folks chase storms,” I said. “We chase fireworks.”

We ended up in the parking lot at Aqua.  I took this shot of the flag in the dark when the fireworks ended. (I had no idea another round was about to begin on the other side of town).

It reflects how I feel about our country now — a lot of darkness surrounding a great light.  We are more divided than I ever remember being, but the light still shines on us.  It is easy to light a fuse and blow up a bridge — and much harder to build one across the chasms that divide us.

We need to build more bridges.

We all have things happen in life.  They can keep us in or down or feeling sorry for ourselves.

I loved watching these guys — how they moved around, smack dab in the middle of the music, how they were drinking the whole thing down.  They could have had a sign on the back of their chairs: “Live your Life!” But they didn’t need to.

Inspirational folks don’t carry signs and they don’t even mean to be inspiring. That’s the beauty of it.

Who doesn’t love a fireman or woman?

I took a hundred shots of this Dalmatian and the flag in the background.  I was thinking of the Granite Mountain Hotshot Team from Prescott, Arizona, who perished in the Yarnell Hill fire a few days before.  I just moved to Cape Charles from Tucson. The southwest is a tinderbox. These men were young and strong and brave.

I placed the storm clouds in the background because it felt true to me: these compassionate firefighters living with a big storm just over the hill. They never know what they will face.

“Thank you” is inadequate.

Seeing this scene from the road made me feel like I was on the edge of a Norman Rockwell painting.  Here was this woman, cooling her feet in a little pool.  The boy was dipping in, too, and tossing the dog an orange Frisbee.

Everybody was wet. The flag waved and the band played on.  I wanted to be in the scene instead of on the edge of it but no matter: The iconic face of America is still bright.

Adults always think they need to teach kids how to be in the world. We forget that we have so much to re-learn from them.

The kids were my favorite part of the day. They would slide down those jump castles dozens of times so I could photograph them, true unabashed hambones.  They laughed and smiled and were totally in their skins.

We may have a few things to teach our kids, but they have something imperative to teach us: Never lose touch with the magic of life because life is magical.

Next year, buy a ticket to a jump castle and slide your heart out. You have a whole year to get ready.

Start now.

Sher Horosko’s commentary is an occasional Wednesday feature of the Wave. A recent transplant to the Eastern Shore, Sher writes on nature and spirituality at



5 Responses to “SHER: July 4th Art as a New Way of Seeing”

  1. Allison Mills Duncan on July 10th, 2013 2:23 am

    I like your pictures because they are real people, the heart of the community living in Cape Charles. The tourists are sometimes flashy, but these are the from-here people and are genuine. I am a from-here who moved away, but will be able to visit a lot more now.

  2. Bruce Lindeman on July 10th, 2013 7:50 am

    Sher — Great stuff! I love the image of the woman and the little boy in the yard with the pool and the dog! What a great picture! Keep it coming, please!

  3. Suzanne Golibart on July 10th, 2013 11:16 am

    Sher, these pictures are awesome! it’s hard to believe that you have only been at it for 9 months. I love reading your stories and seeing your pictures. You have such a fresh and postive way of expressing yourself! I hope to meet you sometime soon. Come on in and see me at Periwinkles!

  4. Evelyn Pinili on July 10th, 2013 3:17 pm

    Sher, your artistic nature is so inspiring! From your stories to your photography, wow what a talent! Hope to meet you one of these days!

  5. Margaret Kime on July 11th, 2013 1:24 pm

    Thanks, Sher, for revealing the extraordinary moments in ordinary life. I’m definitely inspired to become a go-there soon!