URBAN FIELD NOTES: Taken Outside
What is it about? The feature image, that is.
It is about being outside, and about framing the situation, in order to provide sufficient visual interest to turn it into a series feature image.
Of course the subject is yours truly on a photo safari, showing what is in front and in back of me simultaneously, thanks to a large reflective storefront window.
The alignment of my monopod with the vertical shadow line behind me is completely accidental but, in hindsight, absolutely necessary to the visual structure of the photo, allowing all the other elements to harmoniously blend in the image, while of no particular interest, per se, in their being outside.
It is not always the case, being ordinarily outside that is, as the items shown and discussed below, draw our interest from their having been taken outside.
Take that chair below. At moving time in my city it is quite a probable sight if, as unwanted piece of furniture, it is placed at garage alley and sidewalk, BUT NOT AT street corner.
Being taken outside, in all cases for indoor furnishing, divests them of any ownership claim, allowing them to be taken freely by the recycling and scavenging crowd.
Being taken outside in this case seems to have been the occasion of a willful placement. Since no one was seen sitting there, it may have been placed for no other purpose than to surprise and certainly to attract the attention of the passer given the odd and playful set of associations the placement suggests.
This it did, as proof: this photo … and the fact that the chair did disappear one day!
Take the Medicine Cabinet Door Mirror. Amid post-move dumped items it held less interest that the table or the microwave oven, as a recoverable item among the garbage bags.
It held some visual magic though as it introduced a bit of sky and treetop among the pile of discarded items, still functioning as a mirror regardless of its horizontal position.
Having already explored the interesting effects of reflective surfaces in the city, which are usually vertical, this situation was obviously due to sheer hazard since ground level reflective surfaces are rarely to be found except in water basins etc.
The mirror, taken away from its wall-mounted function, had found a new application to its reflective property by the very fact of its being taken outside.
If the only place one has to find for an object being taken outside is a place to park a car, then the above situation will probably have remained below one’s radar.
That I may have found interest in both these situations will probably not surprise my readers from previous posts.
That you may have found these “taken outside” situations worthy of a smile of recognition and poetic appreciation would mean you are not only sympathetic readers of my posts, but also observing readers of the city.
Thanks for taking the time and for your interest in the urban field notes posts.
All photo credit, 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.
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