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“The best way out is always through.”

Friday, November 21, 2008

Find the Beauty in Found Objects

I don't know if it's a blessing or a curse, but I see still life compositions almost everywhere I look. A vase of flowers on the windowsill? Grab the camera. A pile of old tires in the garage? Wow, great shot. I remember spending a half hour shooting a variety of compositions of a flattened rubber dinosaur that I found at the dump once. I'm sure the people at the dump thought I was nuts.

The subject itself doesn't much matter when it comes to making interesting shots out of found objects, it's finding a clever and simple way to present them to your viewer. What attracted your eye to the subject? Was it the combination of shapes? The patterns of light and shadow? Or did the objects seem to define a universal theme? I was drawn to the still life of glasses and silverware at a sidewalk cafe in Paris for all of those reasons--shape, lighting and theme. The minute that I spotted this informal still life I knew that it defined the Paris sidewalk cafe experience for me. I shot the image without even getting out of my seat and I didn't arrange anything: the shot is as I found it (though there's nothing wrong with making adjustments in the subject if it suits your vision). If something strikes you as an interesting gathering of found objects, go ahead and shoot it--you just never know what you might find.

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