Lynard Skynard’s song Simple Man is a song that describe’s my take on life. There’s a lot of wisdom in that song. I have found that the images that are most profound to me are the simple ones. These are the images that people pass everyday and never take a second look.
I had one lady to ask me what I was doing as I was looking through my camera mounted on my tripod. Now, if I was on the beach pointed at the ocean, she would not have asked me that question. Since I was on a sidewalk with my camera pointed at a brick wall of a storefront, in the middle of town after sunset, the question had to be, “What are you doing?” Since she did not ask me what I was photographing, I gave her this questionable look and told her I was taking a picture. She then gave me a dumbfounded look and said, duh! My sentiments exactly! I explained to her that I was photographing the light that was falling on the brick wall of the storefront and that I wanted to capture the neon light of the sign in the distance. Even after my explanation she still had a dumbfounded look. This is just one example how photographers develop their eye to see pass the obvious.
I believe we all tend to slow down as we get older because we know our days are numbered. Photography has slowed me down even more. There is a picture somewhere where ever you are. You just have to have the eye to find it. Good photographers spend years developing their eye and the learning never stops. The pictures in this post are not breathtakingly beautiful with vibrant colors nor do they possess the fanfare of a popular tourist attraction. However, in my eye, there is a simple beauty in each of them.
The stepping stones above are located at a walking track where my family and I go for evening walks. I have passed this location numerous times, but that day the water was flowing and there was an overcast sky begging for a black and white treatment. Setting down on a rock and shooting wide open gave me the composition and perspective I wanted. When I got my scans back, the first thing that came to mind was life’s journey is filled with setbacks, but we must get over our obstacles to complete our journey. Simple shot, but a powerful message.
While in Nashville one morning I visited the Parthenon. The obvious shot is the Parthenon structure itself in its entirety, but I have taken a few those in the past. As I walked around the structure, the hard shadows from the rising sun struck me as I walked down the East face. That was the shot. I just had to decide whether to shoot toward the South or the North. I chose the South as that put the columns at my left for a nice lead through the frame. This shot gave me a since of being trapped behind bars with only a narrow outlet for escape. I found this symbolic to the life of some urban youth. The opening for escaping cyclical poverty is narrow and a lot of urban youth end up trapped behind bars.
I like heading out to the lakes for the colors and reflections, especially during sunrise and sunsets. Often this is not the case as seen in my last photo. This image is as simple as they come, but it shows the solitude and the stillness of Winter. The white birdhouse placed against the dark coastline of trees really sticks out. The absence of bird activity illustrates the emptiness of this scene. It is a stark contrast from the rebirth of nature that comes with Spring and Summer. This is a good lead in for a quote from Walt Whitman. “Simplicity is the glory of expression.”
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