Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Strong Women

Hello again.  I’m a big fan of Donna Grossman and That Girl Knitz.  Her work is unique, creative and very fun.  Be sure to check out her website, you'll find a link below. Donna invited me to write a guest blog, I’m happy to oblige.  Bear with me, I’m feeling fanciful today.

Strong women.  They rock, they lead, they inspire.  A few of my personal favorites:  Mae West, Clare Boothe Luce, Eleanor Roosevelt, Katharine Graham, Beryl Markham, Freya Stark.  There are hundreds of thousands of them.  Many are known to the world, others are known quietly — only to their families.  I look for them in movies, in books, in my own life and I learn.

Strong women show up in my photography.  I see them on the street, I glimpse them in old buildings.  Hidden in plain sight, their messages to me are written on their faces and carved into the architecture of their bodies.

Flower Tattoo
 I took this shot while trekking across San Francisco on foot — the best way to travel with a camera in hand.  An oasis in a landscape bereft of beauty, she was painted by the talented female artistic team of Alynn-Mags, in brilliant, bold color.  Peaceful and determined, I imagine she’ll unfold long, graceful legs and step off that wall to rule the world.  She reminds me to breathe and stay centered.

Vintage Mermaid
This mermaid caryatid, perched just off the Florida shoreline, supports a carved stone barge with purpose and grace.  Embracing whatever comes, waves or wild weather, you can see she’s not a whiner. When she’s busy with other projects, she arranges for dolphin pals to “stand in”.   She inspires me to ask for what I need…and to take up swimming again.
Deco Lines

Art Deco.  An era when women shrugged off all those heavy layers of Victorian clothes and played with abandon.  The sculptor of this piece may think he has our muse clutching a phallic symbol of urban strength on her left, but here’s my take on it:  she’s fully embracing her masculine side (yin and yang you know) while remaining utterly feminine and holding wings to soar as well.  She encourages me to accept all aspects of myself.

You’ll find more strong women when you visit my shop.  These images and many more may be found in my Urban Art and Architectural Detail Shop Sections located on the upper left side of my home page, Shop Sections make shopping quick and easy.  Links Links and More Links:  

That Girl Knitz:  http://www.thatgirlknitz.com

Thanks for dropping by,
E. England

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Do You See What I See?

Photography is a blast — totally fun.  Why else would I do it?  It’s also widely open to interpretation by each viewer - as is all art.   I’ve been pondering that lately, so I thought I’d tip-toe out of my comfort zone and onto a tiny little ledge to personally share what I see in this photo, taken one day in the city.

Here’s the photo.

It’s an old, city wall with a clump of ivy hanging over it and a large, orange graffiti scrawl across the lower right side.  Based on an unsolicited critique (by a fellow photographer!) of another of my photos, some may see this as nothing more than a “casual snapshot”.  Look a little longer, there are some interesting things going on. Here’s what I see.

Our brains like balance, which is provided nicely here by four loosely color-blocked quadrants:  Green/grey, grey/pink, white and orange.  The rusting “chair rail” that cuts almost diagonally across the image creates a tidy top and bottom.  It’s trimmed with a heavily inked line of black across the top, adding depth and movement from left to right.  The two darkly rusted strips of metal that run vertically up the wall draw the eye upwards, adding more movement and a corseted structure.  

There’s more.  The heavy scrawl of vivid orange graffiti acts to anchor or ground the image while the cascade of deep green ivy provides (again) that comforting balance.  The black “@“ sign, or encircled ‘e’ to the left of the ivy feels vaguely hieroglyphic and I think about the level of importance future cultures may bestow on the Graffiti we are leaving behind.  There’s also a metaphorical balancing in the naturally wild, organic growth of ivy and the urban-wild scrawl of spray paint “growing” across the lower wall.  I could go on, but I'll show mercy and stop here.

Each viewer will see something different, or nothing at all, but I promise you, the longer you look, the more you’ll see.   Wondering what to do with a photo like this?  Frame it in basic black or in pale wood, adding urban “edge” to a Wall Grouping or ask for a deckled (torn) edge and float it in a plexiglass frame for a sleek, modern and thoroughly original living room focal point.  Oh, and feel free to use my crazy art interpretation at your next uber-sophisticated cocktail party!

Test your own Art Critic skills here — one pro didn’t do so well (neither did I):

All the best,


Here’s a link to my shop:

Here’s a link to more Urban Art: