Lagniappe is broadly defined as something given or obtained gratuitously or by way of good measure. A good friend of mine, Dewitt Jones, used to talk about lagniappe as the little gift you got in photographs – something that you weren’t suspecting. He specifically talked about it once with a picture of yellow mustard and grapevines, and a little red bucket hanging on the fence. Since that talk he did, I have had lagniappe occur on a regular basis. I’m convinced that if you are looking with eyes and mind wide open, you’ll spot juxtapositions and little ‘extras’ that make the picture better.
This blog picture is a lagniappe moment for me. I was walking around the mask store in Venice in May, trying to find a composition and decided I would use the mirrors in the store to create depth to the scene. When I happened upon this mirror, though, I suddenly realized I could see the artist working on a mask. I was so pleased to find that little ‘gift’ waiting for me in there!
Another such occurrence was when I was photographing sunrise on a hazy day in Venice along the Grand Canal. We had learned that there was a motorized vessel strike the next day, and we thought it would be great to capture the Grand Canal and buildings in golden light without all the boat traffic and water churned up from it. I used a warm diffusion filter over my lens to add more warmth to the sunrise color, and just as I was getting ready to make the picture I noticed a tiny boat coming around the bend from the left. As it got a little closer, I saw that it was a gondolier in his boat! Just like old times, without all the power boats whizzing by him. Magic. Lagniappe.
I’ll take the gifts wherever and whenever they are presented!