School Bus, Grant

School Bus, Grant

School Bus, Grant

My dear friend and former assistant Liz McCue and I were at an antique-car auction on Saturday morning, and as I told Liz, I went into the event looking for more images that illustrated my ideas about the chaff and decay of humanity’s past as viewed through the present.


    1. I see this image and come away with a different view from your hypothesis, Brett. I see the decay of humanity’s present as viewed from the past, not the other way around. The school bus, although the shape has changed in the present day, represents continuity and (daily) rhythm. And in the modern age of kids with smartphones and tablets and social media, very few things are still what they were thirty or forty, or even ten years ago, for that matter.

      The lighting inside the frosted rear windows pulls me in and makes me want to open that rear door, and that feeling is enhanced further by the prominent hinges of that back door. However, that door is usually reserved for emergencies, and that subliminal message, as well as the tone of the entire photograph, make the scene ominous to me. This reaches a crescendo with the haunting word “STOP,” featured at the very bottom of the image.

      I agree wholeheartedly with Melinda that this is stunning, but I wonder: did you find what you were looking for, or did you find something else entirely? I don’t mean that something very sinister has happened here, but instead that this scene represents innocence lost– innocence from an era where taking the school bus was a defining thread in life. That continuity and sense of belonging is all but lost in 2014. And these conflicts are all inculcated within this one striking photo.

      Thank you for sharing it with us.


      1. Well analyzed, my friend. It’s always interesting what intuition does when we’re shooting; I knew I had found something that met my search, but in reading your analysis, I think you may be right. You know my work anyway and how theme of “chaff” persists throughout it, and on longer thought, it may have morphed into something that is indeed more complicated…

    2. Thanks, pal! This was the shot that kicked it all off for the morning. We’d been up since 4:30 or so to catch the sunrise, and got distracted by the great light, all adding up to the fact we got to the auction about 30 minutes after sunrise. I thought we’d blown it, but the 300 cars sat in the shadows of these massive grain buildings with splashed light between them. It made both of us look better than we are. 😉

  1. A powerful image. This speaks to me too of the way so many things are left to decay as relics of a past that perhaps we choose to forget and yet visually they are stylistc reminders of a golden age of design that we carelessly jettisoned.

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