Though I do not take many abstract shots, this one came rather organically. Taken at Big Talbot Island, just north of Jacksonville, Florida, I had fixed my macro lens on my camera halfway through the long walk down the driftwood-strewn beach. I had already taken many photos of the fossil-like trees, languishing and bleaching in the hot sun, and so I set out to capture the little elements that required me to look closer and actually observe the microcosms of barnacles and tulip snails and patterns in the grains of the wood. The day was cut short by the heat, which beaded down my forehead into my eyes, making the very act of photography an unpleasant task.
As I walked back the mile or so to my car, I left the lens cap off of my camera in case anything small, otherwise insignificant, caught my eyes, which burned with the sweat. Near my car, there was a rickety old circular wooden handrail. I cannot say why, but the way the rough-hewn logs stretched horizontally around, propped up by a glorified dock piling, reminded me of Stonehenge. I’ve never been, though I did see a large stone circle in the Lake District years ago. I scrunched up to where the post met the lintels, and manually focused my lens on the dark interstice between them. I thought nothing of the photograph until I got home and began editing the photographs which I had taken that day. There was something appealing about the abstract composition of the capture that pleased me, and, what’s more, intrigued me.
Photography has a way of elevating the mundane to art. Whether that was achieved here, I leave up to you, but in this particular perspective, the photograph seems to create something far more significant than a fence and its post. It is, itself, a simile without words. By giving it a title, I was able to ascribe significance to it–it was no longer simply pressure treated lumber bolted together. It was like Stonehenge. This photograph taught me a lesson, which I carry with me to this day. What may seem insignificant may be given artistic meaning, sometimes simply by capturing it with the camera, and other times simply by giving it a name, an identity. In this way, photography is kin to poetry, revealing the beauty and grace within the quotidian.
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