My contribution to One Word Sunday: Change
My contribution to One Word Sunday: Change
It was left at the curb for either someone else to take and use, or for the trash collectors to pick up.
I love living in a city. I love access to museums, opera, symphony orchestras, theater and restaurants. And it literally makes me happy to walk down the street and see and hear so many people of different nationalities, languages and ethnicities. For me that makes life richer. I also love seeing what people discard. Most of the time it’s things like broken desks, or the packaging of an overly large item. But every once-in-awhile I see an item that seems to call out, “Wait! Stop and look. I have a story to tell!” And then I have the opportunity to imagine it’s history, and try to convey it’s uniqueness with my camera.
I came upon this chair while the grandchildren and I were walking the dogs. And I wondered. Had this chair been placed at a table where someone both ate and struggled to pay bills? Was it part of a set but finally got too rickety to hold its owner’s weight? Did someone place it at a desk where they worked on writing their first novel, or tried to find a job? Did they work from home? And what happened to make them abandon it? The considerate owner had placed its back legs in the uneven roots of the tree, trying to make the chair as out of people’s way as possible. That’s what gave it that delightfully off kilter angle that was both arresting and sad. It probably wouldn’t have been half as interesting to me if it had simply been placed straight up on the curb. Or even had it been laid on it’s side. I would have thought of it as just a used chair. But this askew chair up against the richly textured bark of the tree caught my eye and seemed to say, “I once was new and cared for! What have I done, other than become old? I am still able to hold my back up straight and proud. Please stay awhile, and hear my story.”
Color makes me happy. Forget pastels that are supposed to be calming. I played around with values and filters with this shot to see how it would intensify everything from the dirt to the color of the leaves. I especially like the fact that the lower part of the cement on the left looks like it has just been poured and could still be imprinted with something, while the top portion of the cement seems to glow. That effect was simply an intensification of how the light had hit the two sections of cement differently.
I had purchased these roses because they are my favorites: a lovely peach color, lighter in the center and ringed by a deeper hue. Sometimes the outside petals have the darker color on the tips, as you can see in the bottom rose. Once I got them home, and in the confines of my apartment, I realized that they were heavily scented. Their perfume was wonderful, but I am allergic to the fragrance. My nose started stuffing up almost immediately. What to do? I thought about giving them to a friend, but I truly loved their variegated color and didn’t want to part with them. So I put them out on the balcony. It was the end of December and while it is very rare for there to be a freeze here in the Bay Area, it was quite cold. I didn’t know how the roses would react, but the one thing that was certain was that I couldn’t keep them inside the apartment. So I took a chance and put them outside, careful to place them where I could see them from the couch. I expected that at most they would last a few days or a week. To my utter astonishment and delight, they lasted more than a month. The day I took this photo would have been my husband’s and my 44th anniversary. The fact that the roses had lasted that long was as if he had sent a bouquet.
I am beginning to learn how I can change the look of a photo by manually manipulating the color, saturation, etc. Below is an example.
I rather like it.
Does this image make you a little dizzy? Or perhaps off balance? It should. Yet it is merely a photo of a wrought iron railing. The difference is the reference point. We are used to making solid, constant things our reference points. In this case you would probably not be at all uneasy if I had taken the photo with the building straight on the horizontal and thus made the railing diagonal. That is, after all, how we stand when we look at things. But by making the bottom of the railing horizontal to the bottom of the picture frame (even if it doesn’t appear that way because on the descent of the steps), it makes you feel rather topsy turvy.
I have taken photographs for years. Decades even. But I now find that I have the time and the energy to start learning the craft seriously. Even with much technical skill to learn, however, there is one thing I have always known: that photography, as is true of any art form, must elicit an emotional response from the viewer. It may be awe, discomfort, outrage, sorrow, amazement, a feeling of being drawn in to the photograph, or even that sharp intake of breath that signifies absolute wonder. But a feeling must exist in the viewer or otherwise to them, it is just a picture. Not everyone will necessarily react the same way to the same work of art, or even to the same artist. But if a photograph doesn’t move someone, then it remains an object, not art.
Painters, musicians, writers, potters, photographers, dancers – at a fundamental level, we are all trying to do the same thing. We are all trying to get good enough at our craft to convey what we feel when we encounter the world.
And that is a life long process.
And seeing both the construction site inside and the street reflected behind me.