City Lifestyle

Want to start a publication?

Learn More
'The Crescent Moon' Copyright Jimmy Wilson 2015

Featured Article

Finding the One

When a Winter Walk Inspires Art

“The two most important days in your life are the day you were born, and the day you find out why.” -- Mark Twain

I often get asked which is my favorite photograph. Like many artists, I don’t really have a favorite. There’s a story though behind your best images. Your ‘Cary Grant’ images as I call them. Not your favorite, your best. Where was I, what time of year, what time of day? These images, the special ones, don’t happen every day. It’s not like ordering a cheeseburger. They’re special, they’re your best. The One. That’s why I do it, to get the One.

Well, there's one image that started me off professionally. It has to start somewhere. The one image that made me want to get more and the one image that got me to understand about the One. The one that gave me the confidence, the one that got me going, the one that may be better than anyone else`s, the one that is in a group of images that can be considered classic, the best of anyone’s ever. The one that made me understand, you want the best and only the best, and you throw away the rest. 

I was on my daily morning walk before work. Well, that sounds kind of funny because I am working, I suppose because I'm an artist and there is no time clock. I`ve got my camera and yes, I am walking, so let's just say I'm doing my thing. While this is all happening, I`m waiting for that alarm bell to ring, that alarm bell that tells me there might be the One nearby.  That alarm bell that gets me to focus immediately, that gives me an immediate shot of adrenaline, that gets my senses all in tune in a millisecond. That alarm bell is my eye.  

I`m about halfway through my walk, a three-mile business trip every morning around a lake in Minneapolis. It's early winter, the lake is 95% frozen, there are about three or four inches of snow on the ground and it's about 20 F degrees. Then all of a sudden, my alarm bell goes off!  As I`m walking around the lake clockwise, my eye catches something to my right, it's more than just a something, my eye catches the whole scene at that exact moment. The sky, the horizon, the ground, the frozen lake and the main character in the entire scene, the star of the show – the lifeguard tower on the snowy beach. 

As I often do when my eye catches something, I`ll go a few more steps and then say to myself, get back there!  I go back and sure enough, my eye was correct, I size everything up within 10 seconds and point the camera at this beautiful scene. I shoot about 10 images and then continue my walk. I'm already thinking this could be a great shot. It stays on my mind while I finish the rest of my walk.  

I get home, download the images and take a look. I get that feeling of magic. That's the best way to describe it.  A moment in time captured with your eye that explains what forever is. An image that will last forever because it's one of those ones, it's the One.

Editor’s Note: Jimmy Wilson was able to capture this bit of Minneapolis history just before the city removed these particular lifeguard chairs, which were from the 1930s and 40s.  Jimmy grew up in the area and swims across Lake Harriet every day in the summertime.

  • 'The Red Fox' Copyright Jimmy Wilson 2018
  • 'The Crescent Moon' Copyright Jimmy Wilson 2015
  • 'The Beach' Copyright Jimmy Wilson 2012