“I LIKE PHOTOS that raise questions,” says Winslow-based photographer Laney Butler. “Where you’re kind of like, What am I looking at?” Not surprisingly, that very question comes to mind when taking in her image seen here.
There are shadows—the vague shapes of a couple figures—and a suggestion of movement. But beyond that, the scene is unclear, a playground for your imagination. You wouldn’t precisely know that, in reality, the two figures were dancing to a Gillian Welch tune, performed by Statehouse Electric, the band Laney’s husband plays in, no less.
“It’s a dry town,” they sang, not that’d you’d know it from the photograph. “No beer, no liquor for miles around. I’d give a nickel for a sip or two to wash me down outta this dry town.”
Seeing the two figures alone, you wouldn’t know that the dance floor at West & Watson just off Dickson Street in Fayetteville was starting to fill as the song got underway.
Instead, what you see is a mystery. The image appears like the waking recollection of a fast-fading dream or the gossamer-thin strands of a fleeting memory. There’s emotion here to be sure—but reality? Well, that’s just out of reach.