Cornices and Cupolas: Rescuing Architectural Images

We are often presented with classic, quaint, or colourful buildings that would make striking images – then we grind our teeth when we can’t use them because there is a power line, a curb full of parked cars, or a dumpster destroying an otherwise  wonderful image.  In these cases, one can often rescue the scene – and sometimes create a more powerful image – by focusing on details of the building, and extracting an abstract image derived more from shape, lines, and colours than the overall building and its surroundings.   Sometimes, one can do both:  create an overall, “postcard” view of the building and its setting, and then focus in to obtain “arty” images of architectural details or lines and shapes.  For example, consider the…Continue Reading

Balloon and Headstones

This is another in my series on cemeteries.  Once again, the little balloon stands out against the solemn columns of tombstones as a single, disparate element in the regimented rows of stones.  Perhaps it is telling us we need to laugh in the face of all that is stark and routine and dull in life?  This image may say vastly different things to different people.  Some may see it as an image of loneliness, isolation, and hopelessness.  Personally, it tells me that in a regimented, brand-homogenized world, you can still be quirky if you really decide not to fit in. As a photograph, this is a good example of what can be drawn out of a relatively mediocre image if…Continue Reading

The Hyndmans – Together Forever

I like cemeteries.  Normally, I am found lurking in them at night, particularly those that have lights that create interesting patterns with benches and tombstones (see Lurking In The Churchyard). One of the most interesting daytime cemeteries is Denver’s Fairmount Cemetery.  Constructed in 1890, its grounds contain the mortal remains of a wide variety of scoundrels and famous American citizens, including Lou Blonger (1849–1924), saloonkeeper, gambling house owner and kingpin of the Denver underworld, Junius Flagg Brown (1827–1908), founder of Denver Museum of Natural History, and Mattie Silks (1846–1929), famous madam.  A number of structures on the grounds are designated as National Historic Landmarks.  Of these, one of the most unique is the Little Ivy Chapel, constructed in 1890 and designed by architect…Continue Reading

The Moldering Ford

I found this old Ford decaying beside another wreck near Victoria, B.C., both in the tall grass in a vacant field next to a gravel pit.  The adjoining wreck, which was ratty, modern, and distinctly un-photogenic, was so close that I could not keep it entirely out of the picture.  I finally made the best image possible by cropping the radiator tightly, eliminating the bits of the second car, and bringing together the decaying front of the Ford in contrast with the the tall grass around it, as the plants of the field exuberantly attempt to return it to the earth.  In the end, I came to prefer this closely focused view of the contrasting grasses and wrecked car. Camera: …Continue Reading

The Old Make and Break

Once the bays of Newfoundland and Labrador echoed with the chug-chug of these trusty little engines as they patiently pushed dories out to the fishing grounds each morning.  Now they are largely silent, consigned to the garages of engine enthusiasts  and the flower plots of retired fishermen. Built in the 1920s and 1930s, these simple “one-lungers” worked without spark plugs or high voltage, and could stand a soaking on a stormy day without stalling.  Firing at the top of the piston travel, they were the only gasoline engines that could run equally well forward or in reverse, and needed no fancy transmissions or gear systems. This little engine carried a boat from Maine to St. Brendan’s Island, and came to…Continue Reading