Guest Contributors are so much fun! Today we have Gabrielle who has found a lot of peace, creativity and joy in the everyday around us. She recently went on a photo walk with some other photographers to capture the city of Reading PA! Here is her share!!!
I have been caught taking photos of some strange things. Perhaps the most absurd of these images is a mounted print that hangs in our bathroom. Joel swears that it cannot be a photo of the same old, dirty, battered, multi- colored rain barrel that sits in our yard, but I saw its potential. I have overheard him tell people that I take photos of the goofiest things. I am not really sure what that means because after ten years together, he holds the distinction of being my most photographed subject!
But seriously, is everything in your world always picture perfect? Is your neighborhood television’s description of perfection? If you answered yes, you may return to your little town of Stepford, Connecticut. I, however, have learned that things are never ‘picture perfect’ and that ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’. As a photographer, I have learned that I need to ‘think outside the box’. (Ok, enough with the clichés)
Although I currently reside in a little country town in Chester County, Pennsylvania, I grew up in the big city of Philadelphia. I learned to find the beauty in ways those who live in the country may not appreciate. For example, I maintained a cement garden, watering the pretty flowers that grew in the cracks until my dad announced that they were weeds. On the weekends, I would walk along the avenue to shop, making sure not to step on the cracks in the pavement. Ever know anyone with Astroturf on their porch? Yep, this girl did! I still love visits to the city and enjoy photographing the sky scrapers like the next tourist, but what became my passion early on was trying to see the beauty in what was right in front of me.
Recently, I joined a group of friends on a photography exhibition to Reading, PA. I say exhibition, because Reading has a crime rate double that of the national average. We went as a group because we weren’t sure what we would encounter. Until this point, I had only visited Reading to view the famous Pagoda and I had no idea what to expect. But on the day of our adventure, our group decided to stay on the edge of the city, an area known as Wyomissing. (Perhaps you have heard of it? A little known artist by the name of Taylor Swift used to call that area home).
But the area still has an inner city vibe: store fronts advertising wares glistened in the harsh sunlight, trash littered the pavement, and some buildings were devoid of life, long since abandoned in time. Yet, as we walked on, we photographed textures and baubles that spoke to those of us who dared to look for beauty in the least likely of places.
We spent a few hours walking up and down streets and through a little park. We even spoke to many locals who did not like a group of individuals with camera walking around their city. At the end of a handful of hours, our feet -and our shutter fingers- were tired.
I think my favorite images from that day were of two very similar, yet different objects. Both were strings of lights. One was old, large, Christmas lights hanging from an awning outside a hardware store and the other consisted of large, round, clear bulbs hanging through the trees outside a building. Both were easy to miss if I hadn’t stopped to notice. Taking the time to look at the ordinary from different angles, capturing the light’s reflection as it refracted through the glass, and recognizing the beauty of weathered objects make me happy. (Cue music; “Can’t nothing bring me down; I said; Because I’m happy…”)
I challenge you today to grab your camera or your cell phone, and go on adventure to find something new and make it exciting. Learn how to set your focal point (yes, you can do this with a cell phone!), or play with your aperture and see what you can find in your own town! If you wish to post a link to your photo, I would love to look at it and let you know my opinion. You can see more of my images on my facebook page: www.facebook.com/TurtlebugGraphicsPhotography; or on my website: www.TurtleBugGraphics.com.
PS. In case you are new to photo sharing, Flickr is a great place to post and share links to your images. Your most recent images are free for you to share with others. You can always add more, but only the most 250 or so images can be seen To share more than that, there is a fee. I use the free service as TurtleBugGraphics.