Here are a few random photos from the day. This first one actually has a bit of an interesting story. Other than the fact that I like the form and composition of this picture with the iced-over gutter against the wall, I was actually taking a picture of a woman holding a pair of dried out flowers when a man rushed over to me and in a fit of excitement asked, “Excuse me, are you a photography student?”
I told him no, that I was taking pictures for the Post-Gazette and he told me there was this “ice sculpture” he wanted me to photograph. “You can follow me if you like,” he told me. I was a bit hesitant of that. My mind immediately started rambling with fears of him leading me into a dark alley and robbing me of my cameras.
“Who created the sculpture,” I asked?
“Nobody,” he said. “It was mother nature. It looks like a ream of half hearts.” He drew half-heart curves in the air with his finger. I wondered then if he was homeless. His beard was long and his hair uncombed. But he carried around a leather case that looked official.
After a moment of hesitancy, I decided to follow him, but I noticed myself gripping my cameras more tightly than ever. He led me across various intersections. I asked him about the sculpture and he said he found it about an hour and a half earlier and he’d been running around looking for a photographer since. In my mind, I expected some magnificent touch of God, some hidden treasure of art that I would be privileged of finding.
Then he led me to this narrow alley, and I eased a little since there were still people around. It would be difficult for this man to try to rob me with so many witnesses.
“There it is,” he said, and pointed at this gutter with a wavy line of ice running down it.
To be honest, it didn’t look like much of anything. It was interesting, but was it art? The man stood behind me for a moment. Suddenly, he looked embarrassed, as though he had read my mind. I took a few snapshots of it, trying to look at this ream of ice through this man’s eyes. If he was able to appreciate its beauty, why couldn’t I?
In the end, it turned out pretty interesting.
This man said he was a Vietnam veteran. He even pointed at the bulldog pin on his hat to prove it. I was originally taking pictures of this girl sitting on a computer chair waiting for the bus when he called me over and said I should take a picture of him. I thought, why not? I snapped a couple, and I loved the hardness of his face and the intensity in his eyes. I shook his hand, told him I had deployed to Iraq myself, and thanked him for his service. I actually like it when people call me over to take their picture. This one turned out to be a pretty nice portrait.
For this next photo, I simply liked the striking contrast of the various lines. The twigs of the tree clashed with the diagonal power lines, which also brought a nice feel over the ghostlike gray building in the background. There wasn’t a whole lot of color to this picture to begin with, so I desaturated it and bumped up the contrast way up. I’m not sure if in the end the photo turned out the way I first imagined it when I snapped the photo, but I like it all the same.