Tuesday, June 17, 2008

See For Yourself

What Do You Notice When You View This Photo?

Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON


Yes, I know you’re accustomed to the fact that I seem to train my camera lens on some unusual sights in my eternal quest to find art in seemingly mundane, everyday objects. But now you’re shaking your head and thinking – "Dave’s flipped his lid."

Come on, admit it. The thought did cross your mind, didn’t it?

But give me a few seconds of your time. Take a good look at the photograph above and tell me what you see. Now take an even closer gander at it and tell me what you notice. You reckon I’ve focused on that famous orange plastic that is commonly used on building sites?

Maybe I have. Now look at what is beyond the plastic and you’re starting to notice some interesting colours in the background, right? Some yellow? Some blue?

I took this shot in the vicinity of Chinatown in Singapore about six months ago. Yes, it was taken outside a building site and yes, I took the first shot to capture the unusual shapes caused by the orange plastic draped at the site’s perimeter.

Now take a look at the second shot. It’s taken from exactly the same spot, but with the focus reversed. This time the depth of field has reduced the thick plastic to a haze, but you can now see the bulldozer clearly. Now, with the slight change in perspective, the blue and yellow dominate the frame instead.

I guess this simple exercise in photography just sums up my view. There’s always a good shot out there – if we take the trouble to look beyond physical and mental barriers that often cloud our view.

34 comments:

willow said...

No, I didn't think you had flipped your lid...that is a great shot, David!

CrazyCath said...

No, I didn't think you'd flipped. I'm used to it now. ;0) And Dave? Do you mean to tell me that for all this time I've been using your Sunday name? *eyes heavenward*

I really did look closely. I would never have guessed at a bulldozer. I saw a rosebud in the orange (I see flowers everywhere!) And I wondered if you were seeing a playground slide through there, or a helter skelter... I just could not discern it.

I do love how you do this. I've seen you do it before and consequently tried it with focusing on a flower or a leaf. Obviously can tell what both are in both shots, but it is interesting to experiment like that.

Enough rabbiting. It's a great shot! And a great lesson. Thanks.

Blossomcottage said...

In the film Patch Adams one of the patients in the hospital where Patch Adams spent a good deal of time, said exactly this.
He put up four fingers and said "What do you see" no one but Patch Adams could get his drift.
"Look beyond the obvious" and you will see so much more.
Great blog.
Blossom

Lehners in France said...

Amazing and wonderful to see the contrast. We miss so much, us people blessed with "sight". We take it for granted. Thanks. Debs x

Allan Cook said...

What does it say about me that I knew immediately what it was? The yellow blur of the 'dozer in the background gave it away.

babooshka said...

The bright primary colours evoked the feeling of a playground straight away. To find it was a playground of another sort was hilarious. Well it was to me and my train of thought. These images would be very helpful for anyone not, just the beginner whi often sees more because they look beyond the obvious.

Brenda said...

One of my favorite things to do with a camera is exactly what you did, but I'm pretty sure I've never found such an excellent example. And the colors..... you're right about the colors!

Jules~ said...

that is a great lesson. Sigh....in a couple of years I can get a nice camera and start really applying all of the wonderful things you teach.
What did I notice in the first picture? I more felt that visualized...or maybe the two go hand in hand?
I saw how interesting it was that even in the uniformity of the plastic, there were variations in the stretching. I had a mental urge to want to lace my fingers thru the holes jsut for the feeling of it.

Gary said...

At first I thought you'd been photographing the mesh bags used to house fruit and vegetables!!

Clever that!

Gary

Charles Gramlich said...

The first thing I see is the lovely red color.

diXymiss said...

It's all about perspective.

Betsy said...

I thought the first photo was the plastic netting bags you buy oranges and onions in! :)

CHEWY said...

I prefer the first shot. Little abstract windows.

imac said...

Im so glad that you are STILL FOCUSSED my friend.

Daryl said...

I knew it was a construction 'fence' because 'they' are building a HUGE building just next door to our HUGE office bldg .... but nevertheless I am loving how you got the focus to stay on the 'fence'

:-Daryl

Cowgirl said...

Nice juxtaposition of shots, David! Almost like magic, the scene unwinds. I did guess correctly that it was that building site barrier-stuff!

becky voyles said...

Interesting perspective as always. I like the way you did both perspectives.

just jamie said...

Oooh, I love this. MORE please?!

And I admit, I couldn't figure out what was beyond the orange plastic. My mind's eye saw a yellow playground slide at best.

Bravo!

Kathryn said...

I knew you didn't flip your lid. You are just so creative. Such an eye.

I thought perhaps that was a children's playground. Hmm. My boys would LOVE a bulldozer for a playground!

KaiBlueCreations said...

Aloha David,
I thought it looked like one of those new ECO- shopping bags.. lol..
Now, I know where to get the *fabric* from..
Peace, Kai

Cheri @ Blog This Mom! said...

Great photos!

CrazyCath said...

Hi David. My Weekend Wandering thingy is up and called The Day That Wasn't

Louis la Vache said...

Oh. With the focus reversed, "Louis" thought he had stumbled upon a shoot for the upcoming Pixar film "Wall-E". The Pixar studios are in Emeryville, just south of Chez la Vache.

Aunt Jo said...

The blue caught my eye first. what a cool photo! thanks for making me slow down......i have been running all day!

Mushy said...

I would have laid odds it was a school bus...one of those "special" short buses!

SandyCarlson said...

Good one, David! Thanks for the lesson in perspective. Only you could make that orange fence stuff look good.

Cuckoo said...

You know David, you are a great teacher. You know how to put forth your thoughts through photos. The photo itself tells us so much.

I am trying to learn this art from you. Wish me luck.

Cuckoo

Bill Stankus said...

The comments ... A veritable admiration society!

If you went to art school I bet crit responses were a tad different. I recall leaving such classes sometimes feeling like a survivor of a mugging.

Golightly said...

I looked closer when you told me and saw the outline of a bulldozer. I watch too much Bob the Builder and take my 3-year-old to places like the City Yard Open House for fun. But I missed that it was the fencing that goes around construction sites.

Thanks for the reminder of different perspectives. It does create art.

Maggie May said...

That's clever the yin and yang of photography!
Photo one..... I thought I noticed pink flesh..... but after looking at it in Photo two, it turned out to be a tractor wheel!
Very good!

womaninawindow said...

NICE! Simple and rich! A dessert with a surprise filling!

bart said...

thanks for showing this intriguing shot david... indeed, sometimes a deliberate change in focus or some selective cropping can create a totally different photo to what originally was seen...

keep well

BRUNO said...

Requires a lot of strength to "flip your lid", sometimes!


but you seem to have THAT situation well in hand. The proof is in your closing lines.

Somethin' to be said for not always "taking things at their face-value" sometimes, ain't there?

(p.s.---that thing is what us rednecks "up-here" use to dig taters with! Ya' ought to see what we use to move BOULDERS with! About a foot long, and has a FUSE on one end...!)

Just messin' with ya'!!!

Mima said...

Going back to look I can then see the digger in the background, but I missed it to start with. Love the colours and shapes of the top shot though.