Friday, 09 June 2017 22:33

Just Another Brick in the Wall

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My hometown, Asheville, North Carolina, is an arts town and has been for many years; and some of the most amazing graffiti you have ever seen can be found here. The River Arts District is home, not only to wonderful artists and their art, but to extremely talented graffitists as well; and part of the fun of being photographically creative with their work is to see what abstract expressions can be made from small sections of their whole pieces. The peeling paint of an old storage tank provided just the colors and textures I was looking for. A focal length of 217mm, moderate telephoto, provided the angle-of-view and magnification I wanted. An aperture of f/20 helped ensure edge-to-edge sharpness in the slightly curving surface of the tank; and a shutter speed of 1/5th second at ISO 100 gave me a slightly-darker-than-medium overall exposure. I can almost hear Roger Waters and the gang now. 

Read 698 times Last modified on Wednesday, 05 July 2017 20:20


  • Comment Link Donald McGowan Friday, 16 June 2017 11:43 posted by Donald McGowan

    Good morning Everyone. Thank you all for joining me for this conversation; I very much appreciate all of your thoughtful comments and kind words. It occurs to me that many of you probably think that all I do is wander around looking for scenes from the natural world to express in my work; and while it is definitely true that I much prefer to photograph almost anything in nature in preference to anything from the hand-of-man, my aesthetic sensibilities, hopefully, run much more deeply and broadly than the great out-of-doors. There is actually a great deal in the world of men that I find very appealing and worthy of creative effort, even people themselves. I'll have to offer more of this sort of imagery so we can keep this interesting conversation open.
    Hi Nancy T., I always look forward to hearing from you. I completely agree with you about the color contrast between the black (which becomes "ground" in gestalt reckoning), the blue - a cool tone - and the red/orange - a warm tone. The warm advances; the cool recedes; and the black provides context. Keep in mind that the black and blue seen here are really only parts of of a whole piece of graffiti art, and as such are merely graphic elements of line and shape off-set by the warm tone of the unpainted bricks. And in the end, that's all that the image expresses: an arrangement of graphics in a way that is interesting and, hopefully, pleases the eyes. Walk in Beauty wherever you walk.
    Hey, John. It's great to have you with us. I enjoyed our conversation last week and am glad to hear things are moving positively with your rehab. Yeah, this is one of those Bonnie Cooper-Warren Bedell images that you just have to join in, or sit in the car; and I never did like sitting too much. Actually, we've had lots of fun searching out locations like this in Asheville and its environs. You'll have to join us.
    Hey, Donald; I hope you are ready for a summer of creative fun wherever you are headed. I always appreciate your thoughts and insights. I think the secret to not overlooking images like this is to find everything - especially bricks and peeling paint - to have its own fascination and worthiness as a creative subject. If that's where you place your mindset, then nothing is passed over. The question becomes how to use your knowledge of composition and graphic design to create something of interest. I readily accept your description of the image here that attracted you within what attracted me. I think the divergence is the degree of "weight" we each would choose to express in the bricks. You recall, I'm sure, my stories about Pat O'Hara's "quintessential image"; and what we are talking about here is a form of that idea. I think it's all good. Be well, my friend, and have fun.
    Hey, Warren; I'm glad this Image caught your eye. Your description is exactly what we have so often discussed about the nature of abstraction, and I'm delighted to join you on that "dark" path of creative effort. Be very well, my friend; there are many abstracts yet to come.
    Hi Joani. I agree completely; there doesn't always have to be a reason - especially one that has to be expressed. Sometimes your heart just says, "I like it." Thanks very much for liking this one.
    Ah, Patricia; it's lovely to have you with us, as always. I hope you have been well and are ready to hit the road in that marvelous, magical, mystery RV and enjoy the beautiful countryside around us. I agree, "street" photography is a magical place to travel. We'll have to to together sometime. Walk in Beauty.
    Thanks, again, Everyone. Being on the "dark" side of things is a wonderfully pleasant place from which to create. I hope we'll go regularly.

  • Comment Link Pat Crutchfield Sunday, 11 June 2017 20:42 posted by Pat Crutchfield

    I love the image: Welcome to the magic of street photography!

  • Comment Link Joani Sunday, 11 June 2017 16:16 posted by Joani

    Just plain like it. Some times you just don't need a reason!

  • Comment Link Warren Bedell Sunday, 11 June 2017 11:36 posted by Warren Bedell

    Very nice! A great example of just having the elements of design managed by the principles of balance and simplicity. Thanks for joining me on the "dark side".

  • Comment Link Donald Newsom Sunday, 11 June 2017 11:10 posted by Donald Newsom

    An interesting take on a subject we would normally pass by with a shrug. I enjoy shooting old things -- brick walls, ruins, rusted bridges, etc. -- but am often in a quandary how to make a "boring" subject reflect the fascination I feel. You've gotten this one nicely; but for me, I would crop it to about the lower left 2/3 of your frame, to give more weight to the natural bricks.

  • Comment Link John DiGiacomo Sunday, 11 June 2017 10:14 posted by John DiGiacomo

    Not a typical Don McGowan image. I can see the Bonnie Cooper influence all over this one.



  • Comment Link Nancy Tripp Sunday, 11 June 2017 08:57 posted by Nancy Tripp

    An interesting abstract. It looks like the tank either decided to add to the art, or is trying to be shed of it. The harshness of the black and blue (or teal) has been softened a bit with the red color and texture of the bricks. The original art looks a little "alien" and the bricks bring it back to earth in a simpler time. Wait! What? I have no idea what the abstract is conveying... but it's an interesting abstract and a good conversation piece.

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