Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Interesting Objects

“Remember, the object only reflects a feeling that came from a human. It holds a story from where it came from,
but it’s not alive.” ― Kim Neville

Patti invites us this week to share photos of “Interesting Objects”. I went on a photo hike this morning in the fog up a hill covered with mossy trees with that subject in my mind. I found many interesting things, but I came to make the distinction that what I was photographing was not Objects but Beings. Each mushroom and lichen and spiderweb and bark pattern was exquisite and interesting…and alive. So, I went into my photo archives to find Human-created objects that I’ve discovered on my walks.

I photographed these pendants I found in a Bayside boutique because I love the way the wrapped wire looks like trees. I wanted to show the design to my middle daughter, who makes jewelry.

Owning a beach house gives you the opportunity to show your affection for the sea. I liked this whimsical decoration above one garage in Santa Cruz, CA.

My daughter’s partner is a Bigfoot fan. I had to capture a shot of this chainsaw statue outside of my hotel in Mt. Shasta, CA for him.

This little rock was resting on a bench at the top of St. Joseph’s Hill in Los Gatos, CA. My siblings and I climbed the hill together to mark the anniversary of our mother’s death. She donated to the Mid-Peninsula Open Space District that protects this land. I loved finding this human’s message on that meaningful day.

The things that humans create are not Beings, but they certainly can be created from a place of awe and affection for the Beings that share our planet. I suppose it’s really that interconnection and respect that I find draws me to objects and makes them interesting to me.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: One Image, One Story

“For Sale: Baby Shoes, Never Worn.” – a six-word story attributed to Ernest Hemingway.

Actually, the shoes in the photo above were worn, by my son. Then for years and years they hung from the rear-view mirror of my late husband’s car, until they became quite faded and dry. Now they reside in the Welsh dresser left to me by my grandmother.

“Josh lassos the sun for Daena.” – ala Jimmy Stewart in Frank Capra’s It’s A Wonderful Life.

“Life itself is the most wonderful fairy tale.” – Hans Christian Andersen

“Tell me the facts and I’ll learn. Tell me the truth and I’ll believe. But tell me a story and it will live in my heart forever.” – Native American Proverb

How marvelous to embrace the photographer’s role as storyteller with this week’s Lens-Artists challenge! I’m grateful to Ann-Christine for suggesting it and posting marvelous examples on her site. Click HERE to visit and learn how to participate.

“Careful the tale you tell, that is the spell. Children will listen…” – Stephen Sondheim (died November 26, 2021, aged 91)

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Street Art

“Art is an evolutionary act. The shape of art and its role in society is constantly changing. At no point is art static. There are no rules.”
― Raymond Salvatore Harmon

My daughter’s partner is working on establishing himself as a club music producer under the label Houseium. He asked me and my sister to do a photo shoot for his promotional material, so we went into Eugene, OR to find some colorful street art as a backdrop for his portraits.

I have become one of Houseium’s top fans on Facebook. I am really impressed by Jake’s ambition to learn to apply new technical skills, new dance skills, and new musical skills to his art. I have a BA in Voice Performance. I studied Classical music and performed my senior recital in four languages, interpreting four different period styles of music from the Baroque era to the 20th Century. Jake is just beginning to learn to read music. But he knows what he likes and what sounds good to him. I have to admit that I don’t listen to his genre of music much or his music in particular. Unless he’s putting on a dance party for the family! Then I dance seamlessly through his array of a couple of hours of music and enjoy every minute!

Thanks to Patti for hosting this week’s challenge and choosing a subject that is new to me and very fun!

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Seen Better Days

“Autumn wins you best by this its mute appeal to sympathy for its decay.” Robert Browning

Last week’s Photo Challenge was all about Autumn color, the beautiful garb of aging, death and decay. How appropriate that Tina chooses for this week’s challenge the idea of how dilapidated, vintage, older things that have “seen better days” capture the photographer’s eye as things of loveliness and interest.

“The love of old things is a way of respecting time.”
― Wu Ming-Yi

 “Of all the footprints, that of the elephant is supreme. Similarly, of all mindfulness meditation, that on death is supreme.” 
― Gautama Buddha

The more I study the beauty of aging and death, the more I am drawn into the transformation of cells and matter. Consider that Life is marked by change, that change is the continuation of Life in new forms. Below is a photo of a petrified tree stump in the Flourissant Fossil Beds National Monument in Colorado, illustrating the change from vegetable into mineral.

Is it any wonder we photographers are fascinated by the visual evidence of the dance of Life and Time? As humans, we are definitely a part of this process. As humans, we take our experience and create Art to celebrate it.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: One Photo, Many Moods

“Don’t shoot what it looks like. Shoot what it feels like.”
– David Alan Harvey

Soft color, diffused light, water falling as gracefully as a diaphanous gown over the form of a posed dancer – the picture above puts me in a mood of dreamy peace.

In black and white, water and rock are opposing elements. There is work being done, erosion and the exposure of contrasting light.

In this cropped version, the multiple paths of falling water suggest possibilities, nuance, ambiguity, secret diversions. In monochrome, it suggests a kind of sexiness that distorts reality. Our Lens-Artists host, Tina, says, “This week, we’d like you to think about the various ways you create your images. Show us the same subject captured using multiple, different approaches.” Her post shows fabulous examples of her photographic skill. Click HERE to see!

In working with the photo above, I made a couple of discoveries. First, I converted it to black and white, which felt more nostalgic to me. If I had a sepia option, it might make me think of an historic war zone.

Then, I zoomed in for a cropped version and noticed a spider web with intersecting lines that mirrored the angles of the fence material, creating an abstract I hadn’t foreseen.

This abstract evokes philosophical thoughts about boundaries and materials. How resistant are the fences that keep me from crossing into new territory?

“Photography is about finding out what can happen in the frame. When you put four edges around some facts,
you change those facts.”
– Garry Winogrand

This photo exercise yielded some interesting results. I find it worthwhile to experiment with my vision and allow for unexpected rewards. Thank you, Tina, for the challenge!

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: On Display

Amy has chosen a perfect theme for this week: On Display. My favorite part of holidays, besides eating and music, is the color and light displayed in joyous abundance, dispelling the darkness of the Winter Solstice. I have always loathed shopping and buying Things, for many reasons, but I am always drawn to an attractive visual array of objects. Salt water taffy in this Oregon shop comes in so many colors, and so do lollipops!

The sparkle of glass and cellophane adds to the magical light captivating the imagination with the promise of sweetness and delight.

You can find beautiful displays in museums, in nature, and in your own home, probably.  What have you got on display? 

 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Abstract

This week, Patti invites the Lens-Artists to “break the rules and go beyond the traditional realistic image of an object, scene, or element” and create Abstract photos.

It’s fun to guess what objects were used to create abstract images. Here are a few abstract shots of playground equipment:

Did you see the moon in that one? I wish I could figure out a way to make that more visible. 

The one below is a public art sculpture, again, with the moon faintly visible. 

Naturally simple lines and shapes can also make great abstracts, especially when you use photo editors. 

How does the emotion and story change in the abstracted versions of the plants shown above? How does your reaction change?
I could play around with possibilities forever on this theme!

Pumpkin guts become…

…pop art!

How fun is THAT? Thanks, Patti!

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Street Art

I am almost stumped by Patti’s Lens-Artist Challenge this week. My photographs are largely of natural subjects, and I am not likely to be in an urban setting with a camera. However, I did have one photo come to mind…

So, definitely paint is involved…and a street…and something natural because…me.  And yes, I moved the painted leaf because it was stuck fast. Then I took a picture of it. Does that make me a street artist?

Okay. Cool!

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Harmony

“There is no true greatness in art or science without a sense of harmony.”

Albert Einstein

Greatness is a pretty tough challenge. Harmony is a tough challenge as well. Technically, emotionally, socially, it is not easy to make music. I have a B.A. in Music/Vocal Performance, and almost two years ago, I took up the violin. Professionals make it look almost easy. I had no idea how difficult it is until I tried to produce some kind of pleasing sound whilst scraping a horsehair bow over a metal wire. The idea is rather ludicrous…as were my first attempts. Why do would-be musicians even bother? 

This evening, my eldest daughter is performing Mahler’s 8th Symphony with the Madison Symphony Chorus…and a host of other musicians. After all, it’s the “Symphony of a Thousand”. Tomorrow, I am performing Mozart’s Solemn Vespers and Lauridsen’s Lux Aeterna in a basilica known as Holy Hill.

It’s impossible to imagine the number of hours that go into producing a concert, from composition to performance. Similarly, from learning to speak to writing poetry, what motivates humans to communicate? Why bother to go further than grunting out urgent pain or danger?

There is something sublime, something divine in experiencing the mystery of being alive in a moment. Music is LIFE in a moment. Photography is LIFE in a moment. It is breath-taking, poignant, exhilarating to be able to show someone that LIFE and feel that they resonate with that experience. That is harmony — experiencing the resonance of LIFE with another being. 

As a Lens-Artist, I hope to show you something that touches a chord. Thank you, Tina, for the invitation to be part of this challenge and share the art I’ve practiced. 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Creativity

I think Creativity inspires more creativity. Case in point: Ann-Christine has used her creative inventiveness to come up with a photo challenge, and now my creative energy imagines a new response.

And to illustrate my point further, I’d like to introduce you to ART in BLOOM – the Milwaukee Art Museum’s “stunning art-inspired floral installations” that are exhibited each spring. This exhibit is also a contest. The idea is to create a floral interpretation of one of the paintings in the museum’s galleries. This is the Grand Prize winner:

And here is my own gallery of my personal favorites: 

And to take the idea one step further, here is creative inspiration to the fourth degree: a photograph of a photographer inspired by a floral design inspired by a painting.

Creativity is communal and connective this way. We inspire each other, we learn from each other, we appreciate beauty together – differently.

Thank you, my fellow Lens-Artists, for inspiring me each week and inviting me to play along. What a great opportunity to live out Einstein’s words: “Creativity is intelligence having fun!”