Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Street Memorial

Photo (c) 2008 by the Incorrigible Curmudgeon
The street memorial is a whimsically sad form of art which, if not unique to DC is certainly ubiquitous in DC.
Assembled in tribute to a recently deceased child who is just as likely to have been a hit-and-run victim as a victim of random street violence, these memorials usually consist of a photo, sometimes flowers, and stuffed animals tied or gaffer-taped to a lamp post. This one is on the corner of Sherman Avenue and Columbia Road, NW.
One of my students once did a photo essay on these types of memorials. I'm sure there's a coffee-table book in there somewhere for a photographer with the time and talent to more formally document this phenomenon.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

While Driving to work...

My friend Dr. Leffall likes to talk about 'grace notes.' It's a concept he learned from his friend and classmate Cannonball Adderley, who defined a grace note as those extra notes or flourishes that take a piece of music from the significant to the sublime.
To me, a grace note is what I experience when I go walking out the door, lost in thought or pre-occupied with the tasks that await me. And then I look up and suddenly become aware of how extraoridinarily beautiful the morning is: perhaps the sun streaming through the trees or the sound of a bird's song or the colors of the foliage or the quietness of the falling snow. The things that take me away from the mundane, the quotidian, and remind me how wonderful life is and how beautiful our world can be, these are grace notes to me on a profound level.
To me one of the most rare and ephemeral grace notes has to be the rainbow. It was right after sunrise when this rare morning rainbow materialized. I drove quickly to a roadside park where I could stop my car and snap a few shots before the rainbow dissapated. The blues and greens had already begun to disappear but I managed to snap a few shots, including this one.

Leonard Cohen wrote a song called "Bird on a Wire." I shot these birds on a wire while stuck in traffic at a light by pointing my camera up through my moon roof, finding a little bit of beauty in an otherwise cloudy, dreary day.

Driving to work on a rainy day it is often dark enough for some lights to still be on on street lights and businesses along the way. I always tell my students not to be 'fair-weather photographers' advice I take to heart. Besides, I find a car makes an ideal platform from which to shoot landscapes and cityscapes in inclement weather. I was mesmerized by the cloud formations on this particular day. Still waiting for to get the elusive shot of lightning or of a tornado.

All photos (c) 2008 by the Incorrigible Curmudgeon using Canon PowerShot A570IS