Renewal

Renewal

This photo is a bit more abstract in nature, and thus somewhat of a departure for me, but that’s kind of why I’m posting it as this week’s featured picture. Unlike most of the images I have here on the blog, the subject and context is not (I’m guessing, anyway) immediately clear to the viewer. Instead of a flower, a museum, or even a tornado siren I’ve got…a floor and a door. What, then, is going on here? The tagline of this blog is “Exploring the wonders of creation through a 50mm lens,” and that’s exactly what led to this picture.

I was walking through a building on campus recently when I came across an old room that was being renovated and thought it might make for an interesting picture. So, like I often do, I just kept on walking with that same thought ringing in my ears that has haunted me for years: “What if someone sees you?” I know the obvious answer, for experienced photographers unlike myself is, “So what?” but I still have trouble getting to that point mentally. I continued to walk down the hallway until I finally got the guts to turn around and go into the empty room to see what I could see. Turns out there wasn’t a whole lot going on, but enough elements did stand out that I thought might make for at least a semi-compelling photo.

The yellowed colors on the wall, the layers of paint around the edges, the dusty concrete floor, the dirty repainted moulding around the base, and the blue-ish light streaming in through an old window all came together to form an interesting take on what might otherwise be a quite uninteresting and rather nondescript room. The only trouble was capturing it with my 50mm lens, since its limited field of view (especially on a crop-sensor camera) makes it wholly impractical for interior shots like this. To get this shot I stood as far back in the corner of one room as I could, and even then there isn’t enough room to see the entire doorway in front of me. This limitation, however, presents some unique advantages as well: instead of seeing an entire room, the viewer is instead forced to notice singular details of the room that combine to form a more complete picture in his or her mind.

Or maybe I’m reading way too much into this, and at the end of the day it’s just a poorly-composed picture of a doorway. Either way I kind of like the picture and enjoyed the process of taking it, which in some ways is more important than the end result.

Comments

  1. Simon —
    Interesting photo today. Not as much impact as the sunrise photo last week, but there are things about it that are worth noting. I like the contrast between the almost creamy looking concrete floor and the stark doorway that juts out onto it. A second look at the photo reveals that the wall and molding are old and have seen quite a lot of service. The mind races to think, “What kind of room was this?” “What things went on in it?” “What decisions affecting people’s lives took place there?”.
    It is said that the difference between a master photographer and an amateur is the master knows how to compose the picture and properly use light. I think you also have to have an ability to see things which offer themselves to be good subjects for photographs. Nice job, Simon. By the way, what camera, f stop, iso, and shutter speed did you use?

    • Those were the same kinds of things I was thinking as well, David. I don’t know anything about the history of that room since I just happened to walk past it one day, but looking at the photo does make me wonder a bit more. If these walls could talk, as the saying goes…

      As always I appreciate your kind words and nice comments, and would love to see any of your shots if you ever get the chance to post them online :)

      I shot this at f/1.8, ISO 200, 1/60 second on my Nikon D200.

  2. I actually like this photo. It make me wonder what the room used to look like and what it will look like.

    • Thank you Cindy, and I did walk past the completed room a few days ago just for kicks but it had been transformed into a bland, boring office. I like to think the original had a lot more character :)

  3. Sidney Clark says:

    Simon, you’re right… it’s the process of creating the image that is important. I look at it and it immediately makes me think of all the people who might have walked through that door into that room. I see the “ghosts” of the past, if that makes any sense. I’m a recent subscriber (not a pro… just an “enthusiast” photographer), and really enjoy your weekly emails. Keep ’em coming!

    Best regards,

    Sid Clark

    • Thanks for your thoughts Sidney, and I like how you thought of all the ghosts of the past that have inhabited this one room at some point. The building is several decades old, and if those walls could talk the stories they might tell would be captivating. It kind of bums me out that it’s now just another boring office millions of others, but I like that I got a glimpse of it during an interesting transition period :)

      Thanks for subscribing to the blog! I’m no pro either, just a dude who likes to take photos :)

  4. Simon —
    Two things. First, thank you for taking the time and effort to put is site together. It is very helpful to us struggling to be better photographers. Second, I am just about to leave the office to head to Dallas. There is a little game that is going to be played tomorrow. Beat Texas!!!!!

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