Friday, January 17, 2014

Photographing the ordinary and familiar

click photo to enlarge
Every now and then I include a quotation in my blog posts. I like quotations for the way they frequently condense, pithily, an important truth in a small number of words. Several years ago, when moving house prevented me from maintaining PhotoReflect at its then current level, I created for a few months, a less labour intensive blog that I called PhotoQuoto. It gave me the opportunity to make use of some of the quotations I'd collected and savoured down the years and it was an exercise that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Recently, one of my blog posts from the first month of PhotoReflect's existence (January 18th 2006), as well as its attendant quotation, came to mind. We were doing a familiar walk past a collection of rather ordinary old barns. These seem to have grown up organically as needed, the oldest nearest the road, newer ones added on ever further away. Next to what was probably the oldest structure a relatively young ash tree stood, its "keys" still hanging in heavy bunches despite the weeks of strong winds that we experienced at the turn of the year. The buildings and tree, together with the puddles from recent rain, and the sky that looked like it might clear or could bring further precipitation, was suddenly enlivened by a fleeting glimmer of brighter light. The words that came to mind as I framed my shot were those that I'd used eight years ago, from the American director, artist and writer, Aaron Rose (1969 - ): "In the right light, at the right time, everything is extraordinary." In those few moments the familiar, mundane buildings came alive, photographically speaking, and seemed a much better prospect for a photograph than they usually do. Looking at the shot a couple of days later I still hold that opinion. However, I do wonder whether a photograph of some barns that I took last year might also have been a factor in making me look anew at this group.

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Camera: Sony RX100
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 10.4mm (28mm - 35mm equiv.)
F No: f7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/125 sec
Exposure Compensation: -0.3 EV
Image Stabilisation: On