Inside – Outside
These days of climatic disorder isn’t as easy as the Gershwin song goes. For one thing, rehydrating bottles of water and places to cool down the body are not always practically at hand.
In the feature image, taken outside the Atwater public market,at the onset of a heat wave this summer, the multiplicity of types of shelter from the sun is evident and the intensity of shadows they produce bears witness to the intensity of sun light, as can be seen behind the large windows of the bakery-coffee-place and under the white tent over a producer stall.
At the limits of inside and outside
Given the fact that they usually harbor entrances and exits as well as large glazed surfaces with contrasting levels of luminosity and temperature on each side, one is usually attracted to them by interesting visual and other sensory phenomena one can observe, as illustrated and discussed below.
Sitting by a large window in a suburban train-station-turned-pizzeria sited by the depressed railroad tracks, the tall grass and ivy-overgrown security fence located outside seem to keep strange company with the reflection of a chair located inside.
A bit of attention to detail will reveal the crushed stone treatment of a drainage ditch at the edge of the building and the metal divider to keep the planting from invading it.
Finally, the particular feel of the urban edge context is given by the industrial building, topped with cellular phone antennas, located on the other side of the depressed tracks.
An interesting photo op while waiting to be served!
While musing near the entrance of my favorite bakery and coffee shop, I catch this slice of urban summer living: witness the umbrellas, Adirondacks armchairs, potted miniature palm trees, crushed rock patio flooring and the lone customer with his child’s pram looking straight at me!
Up close is the counter along the shop front window and, beyond the street car traffic, is the local apartment-hotel favored by the university crowd, with a bookstore-bistro and a Belgian chocolate shop on each side of the hotel entrance.
At an intersection, courtesy of a slow-speed detour, I am struck by this combination of hip roofed bungalow and enormous tree that seems to take the building under its protective wing.
Recklessly I park then leave the comfort of the car and come out in bright sunshine to frame the image, carefully composing the balance of natural elements, building and urban utilities combining on a single wooden mast: traffic directing and street naming signs, street lighting and electric distribution cables and transformer at the very top … touching the clouds !
Note how the humble asphalted street, concrete sidewalk and grassy berm form a visual basis uniting all the other elements of the image.
Any would-be photographer always has a camera handy. Cheers!
Credit all photos to Maurice Amiel
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Maurice Amiel, M. Arch. (U.C. Berkeley) is retired professor of Environmental Design at the School of Design, University of Quebec at Montreal, where he was involved mainly in environment-behaviour teaching and applied research projects. In order to promote environmental awareness, he has turned after retiring to documenting and writing about various physical and human agents contributing to a sense of self, place and sociability ... I wish to add to my interests the fundamental role of light in photography and the visual structure of all 2D forms of artwork.