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:

No comments:

Post a Comment