Counterculture, Flowers, and Chimneys

31 05 2012

Today I’m in the process of wrapping up the last pictures from my shoot last week so I can get into a series on old cars I’ve been working on. I suppose since this post is a little scattered anyways, I’ll slip in some life stuff here and there while I’m writing.

I almost missed this shot entirely, twice. I was driving down a back road on my way to another location when I saw an old dilapidated building with a chimney, see below. I took a few shots of it that didn’t get me too excited and was about to walk back to my car when these flowers in front of this old white store front caught my eye. I played around with a few angles and aperture settings until I finally got this. I couldn’t be happier.

When I took this shot I wanted something dark and back-lit. I considered going for a silhouette but the trees in the background would have made the building almost indistinguishable. I get a little chuckle from a shot like this because it makes me think about how our society has changed. When this house was built, the chimney and the fireplace inside may have been a source of warmth, or used for cooking. Now fireplaces are considered a luxury item. I also think of hunting and fishing, it was once an essential part of our survival but now they’re used as a source of relaxation, an escape from our busy lives. I wonder if we’re really progressing or just getting away from a lifestyle we constantly try to recreate.

I just realized the past few posts have featured a lot of old things. Old buildings, tools, places. Part of that is a product of where I live. My small town surroundings don’t offer a lot of bustling metropolitan environments for me to spend my time shooting in. David made a comment on my last post that a lot of modern buildings are soulless. I’m a huge fan of modern and old architecture and I agree with him to an extent. I think we live in a world where people want to fit in, and that has even influenced architecture. Anything that is unique is though of as counter-culture. Entire movements have started to fight “conformity.” Most of the people in those movements don’t realize they’re fighting for society to take a step back into the past. Would that be bad or good though?

I don’t want to get too wordy here so I’ll go ahead and wrap it up here. Hopefully my observations have got some wheels turning and I’ll get some buzz in the comments below. Naturally I’d love to hear your feedback on the images too. I have one more post before I get to the old car series so stay tuned this weekend!

Check out Facebook and Twitter, follow the blog, feel free to reblog or use anything here provided you mention where you got it. Have a great day and God Bless! -Arley

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19 responses

31 05 2012
Mary Lou Rutledge

I’ve never heard anyone say “these are the good new days”. It’s “those were the good OLD days”. We remember the good and forget the bad so it seems the past was idyllic. I love old falling down, rusty things too and old cars. They had character and detail. We want the fireplace but flip a button to turn on the gas heat because carrying in wood or coal was a lot of work. Life moves forward and we must move with it.

1 06 2012
96arley

Well said Mary Lou, at my ripe young age all I have to go on is idyllic stories :)

31 05 2012
JenBoudreau

I absolutely love how the first photo focuses on the flower yet the cabin in the background still looks beautiful! Nice job!

1 06 2012
96arley

Thanks, if you’re looking for a little more information on the subject I wrote an article on f/stop a little while back that you might could learn a bit from http://shootabout.com/2012/02/20/keys-to-properly-exposing-a-photograph-2-fstop/

31 05 2012
Kirsten Dinesen

I love this piece…and how both the photographs and writings…stir the imagination while providing a sense of nostalgia….very nice….thank you for sharing your talent!

1 06 2012
96arley

Thank you for the kind words. It sounds like this piece did exactly what I was trying to create fr you :)

31 05 2012
victoriaaphotography

Nice photos and I am DEFINITELY one of those people who wants to escape back to the past. I’d love to get back to the days when it was safe for children to go to the park by themselves, climb trees, collect tadpoles and generally get thoroughly dirty in the great outdoors. Children (& adults) were much healthier mentally and physically back in those days.

Too much tv & computer games for my liking. Even here in Australia – a nation of sport and being outdoors, it is fast becoming like the rest of the western world – a nation of high technology and minimal time communing with Nature. Even though I live in the inner city, I’m lucky to be near many parks and public gardens, so I get the chance to be outdoors a fair bit in the good weather.

In the last image, I would have liked to see a tiny bit of sky between the truck cabin roof & the top of the frame. Looks a bit too chopped off, but that’s just my taste/opinion.

1 06 2012
96arley

I agree with much of what you said. I didn’t realize you were from Australia. I guess you already know the Australian Aboriginal People are the biggest influence on this blog. Regarding the roof, in hindsight I wish I had been able to take my time a bit more but funny story actually; This was at a shipping and receiving location beside what looked like a scrapyard. The whole place was being run out of an old trailer and as soon as I got there a Hispanic man that spoke very little English asked me who I was. I have an unofficial “Press Badge” I made for shootabout and my commercial website that gets me out of a lot of trouble and at least buys me a little time when I’m places I shouldn’t be. Well he didn’t want to say anything else so he went to get his boss. I wrapped up my pictures and left while they were still talking about 100 yards away at the trailer :)

1 06 2012
victoriaaphotography

Sounds like you did well to get your pics and move out of sight pretty quickly in that case.

31 05 2012
ktlee

The first photo is so intriguing! I love the bright flowers up close, with the white building a little further back and the bright sparkle of the sun evident in a few, far-reaching rays! Really nice shot!

1 06 2012
96arley

Thanks, it was definitely one of my favorite shots that day. One of the best flower shots I’ve ever done I think.

1 06 2012
expatcat54

The first picture is lovely. The little run down house looks quite dreamy with the sun’s rays blurring it. The flowers (oleander?) are lit so well and that one sharp bloom is great, really draws the eye in.

1 06 2012
96arley

No clue what the flower is but I appreciate you speculating on it. Last time I speculated about a bit of glass in a blog post someone told me I was wrong and sent a link to a website about Neon Sign Insulators. I added the link to the blog post and an hour later the curator of that site commented and told me exactly what kind of insulator it was. It was actually pretty amazing the way it all came together. http://shootabout.com/2012/01/25/late-afternoon-at-the-cokesbury-hills-motel/

1 06 2012
davidoakesimages

Great imagse once again…….Maybe I was not very clear in the opinion I voiced of old versus new. I do like many of the new architectural wonders and progress has to continue. However, for me, whilst visualy attractive many of the new building lack a sole to them no matter how many people either work or live in them. Whilst so many old ‘structures’ in decay and others still in use seem to breath the past but also seem to have a life of their own. Yes, I do love the older buildings but nor do I forget that to-day is tomorrows history.

1 06 2012
96arley

That’s how I understood you. I suppose I should have given a little more attention to what you said instead of just using you as a segway into a counterculture debate :)

1 06 2012
davidoakesimages

Hey….not a problem. Look forward to your next post

1 06 2012
melodylowes

Especially love the first one – that lighting creates a strong mood. Lovely shot!

1 06 2012
sacredblossom

I do love flowers and the way you captured this beauty is absolutely exquisite!

1 06 2012
96arley

haha, thanks. Satire aside, glad to see you made trip over :)

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