Poppies (1998)

by Dan Senn

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 see video silent (3:37)

In the neighborhood of Shy Anne Studio, the metal covered building I constructed in 1992 in north Tacoma, lived an elderly woman in a small house surrounded by a picket fence and apple trees. The fence hadn't been painted in 50 years or so, the apple trees grew as if wild, she rarely cut her lawn, and for all of this, though it probably affected property values, I was thankful and for one reason. A large portion of her lawn had been overtaken by glorious red poppies.

One warm summer evening, when my family was out on an errand, I felt a surge of boldness, grabbed my HI8 camera and tripod and went to the corner lot to take some video. You know, it took some guts to do this as the old woman was not the sort to give permission. Even so, I was shooting from the sidewalk and technically on legal ground. Indeed what really had me on edge was her mid-50s boyfriend with the big Harley Davidson. No one was quite sure whether or not he'd been paroled.

Poppies is a short perceptual study of a small field of flowers and comes close, I think, to the manner in which I observe such things.

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