December 18, 2005

Christo redux: A little joy

2005. It was a very tough year.

TIME provides a visual reminder of just how tough with its recent “Best Photos of the Year” issue.

There are 37 photographs in the issue’s print edition. (The online edition displays 24 of them).

Of these, 36 relate to events that involved suffering, death, injustice or sadness. Captions like “Burial Ground,” “Body Bag,” God’s Wrath,” “Paradise Lost,” and “A Fight for Life” accompany these “best” images of all that wasn’t good about 2005. Hurricane Katrina and the London bombings each merit seven images. Rita gets one, as do Darfur, France afire, Pope John Paul II’s body and a frail Michael Jackson in pajamas. There are nine photos of Asia’s horrific natural disasters, six related to the chaos in Iraq and Afghanistan, and two showing strife in Palestine.

Then, there’s Christo.

The print edition’s final photograph, by Andrew Kaufman, carries this caption: “Curtain Time! For two weeks in February, The Gates, a 23-mile-long art installation by Christo and his wife Jeanne-Claude, filled New York City’s Central Park with 7,500 orange banners and countless smiles.”

Indeed it did.

I shot the photos above as I wandered under and along miles of Christo’s brilliant orange curtains. They blew in the winter breeze and captured in their folds the white light of the sun.

They brought a brief burst of joy to a year that had so little of it.

Related posts:

2/17/05: Off to Central Park to see Christo’s Gates
2/21/05: Christo, the Chrysler Building and one bad oyster
3/3/05: Newsweek’s Quindlen calls gates “Ode to Joy in bright orange”

Where shall we go next?