Vintage: Woman dragging her stroller in the sand

It was popular in its time.

One particular visit to the Oregon coast in 1991 I took this photograph. 

At the time I felt especially insightful and sensitive about it. I was impressed with myself because I thought the image was “a metaphor of the struggle of Motherhood”.

Was it a metaphore? Am I especially insightful and sensitive?

There are two opinions that intervene on my behalf:

Opinion #1  “Not deep, no metaphore, shallow and meaningless”.

I wasn’t insightful or sensitive. This image was about the diagonal lines going from the bottom left to the upper right corner. I took the picture in an instant. I glanced over, slid the zoom lens to the proper setting and pressed the button. The entire time of conception to completion: 1 second.

Diagonal lines in an image are always interesting to look at. They are like the spice in the soup. I saw the lines and how isolated they were on the textured background and responded viserally.

“Photography is a stab, painting is a meditation”.     Henri Cartier Bresson.

Opinion #2  Sensitive image, metaphore of the isolation and struggle of my life up to that point, sorrow for the trials I’ve put my Mother through.

Life moves quickly. A photographer has to move quickly too. The mind is easily capable of detecting the meaning of something within one second. It could ascertain a dozen of these metaphores in that same second.


The eyeball/optic nerve is the most pronounced and the most developed nerve and nerve ending combination in the body. We “see” a tiny fraction of the information that enters our eyes. The rest is processed and stored in our subconsious for later retrevial.

“There are no accidents in photography.”    Linda Lowell

The truth…I saw the woman dragging her stroller and thought “how interesting”.  It intrigued me. I took the picture. Later I thought “This is a metaphore”.

The actual print (done on Ilford glossy fiber based paper) is gorgeous. Ask to see it sometime when we cross paths.

-Jon Ball is a photographer living in Boise, Idaho. His photographic wisdom and tips are questionable.


  1. …it probably has something to do with relating to her… on some level….

  2. I’m not sure why I like it so much….I have since the first time I saw it. It’s just a cool shot w/the lines on the beach, and the woman pulling the stroller backward (@Barb…yes we do relate to that!) is just really cool. It’s interesting to think that she didn’t even know she was being photographed and creating such a cool shot!

  3. I recall entering this print in the Photo contest at the 1993 Western Idaho Fair for Jon. Jon was serving a mission in Texas.

    He won the “Best of Show” award with a huge ribbon to show for it. Not bad for being absent from the heated competition at the fairgrounds.

    After the fair, I lost the print for about 5 years. it surfaced in a box of my own drawings in 1998. I gave it back to Jon. And now it lives again.

    Not only it is a fine picture, but it’s an award winner and a survivor of a chaotic era in the Ball household.

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