What I really like about the expression ``the X-Factor’’ is that it is completely undefinable. It is something that defies our attempts to categorise everything around us. Yet it is something we clarify as being the difference between something pedestrian and something memorable.
I’ve tried to devote this week’s theme to explaining this ephemeral concept. Last week, I was walking across the Sandridge Rail Bridge here in Melbourne, which dates back to the late 1800s. I was just standing there and running my hand across the rivets and wondering about the men who painstakingly put them in place while the bridge was being built.
I shot the first image to try and capture the fact that these rivets were put in place by hand, not by robots but by flesh-and-blood builders who laboured under Melbourne’s fickle weather.
I could see that while most of the rivets were in a precise military-like pattern, an occasional one was slightly out of alignment, as you'll see in the second shot (above).
I also liked the fact that the weak sunlight in this frame gave me a definable shadow - hey, when was the last time you got an artistic kick out of photographing rivets and their shadows?
I was also intrigued by the early-afternoon light patterns on the painted metal. Then I continued walking along the bridge and the light changed dramatically, with the sun coming out from behind cloud cover.
Immediately, the metal took on a new sheen, like polished chrome.
Just before I hit the shutter, a tourist with a camera walked into my line of vision. Instead of swinging my camera away from him, I moved it fractionally towards him, to include him in the frame. His appearance gives the shot a new perspective and his yellow jumper puts a splash of colour into my frame.
Along with the darker daubs of colour on the top right-hand corner, I also liked the fact that the rivets disappeared into the distance like an array of shimmering silver globules.
I guess each angle tells a different story, but I hope you were riveted. I'd really appreciate it if you could tell me which of the three shots, in your opinion, has the X-Factor.
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