Friday, July 11, 2008

Don’t Potter Around

Are There Any Genies In These Fine Specimens?

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON


Sometimes, photographic treasures are concealed in the least likely places. I took these shots in rural India, in the lobby area of the Cheetal Grand, a popular restaurant with beautifully landscaped lawns, on the highway from New Delhi to Dehra Dun. As some of you might recall, I was in India for five days just before Christmas, of which two days were spent on the road.

During a brief stop at the restaurant on a wintry afternoon bathed in the mellow embrace of pre-Christmas Indian sunlight, I spotted these ceramic pots indoors. The light wasn't great, but the shapes caught my eye immediately.


As always, I had my camera slung over my shoulder and I asked permission to shoot a few quick frames. I disabled the flash, the better to catch the soft play of light across the glazed surface of the pottery. I took the first shot to highlight the gentle curves of three pots - and had to contort myself to make the frame work!

I took the second shot to capture the notion of individuality within conformity. The row of pots had exactly the same shape but were coated in different colour schemes - and if you look really closely, you'll notice that the lime-green pot (above) is a kiln-mutant, for it has emerged shorter than its companions.

Finally, the last frame (below) was taken to emphasise the variety of choice. The sharpest focus is deliberately on the mid-section of the shot, with the depth of field working to produce a soft blur as the serried pots stretch into what seems like the distance - but in reality was only a few feet away.

Infinity is such a nebulous concept to explain. But when you have a camera in your hands, it is a task that becomes so much easier, don't you think?

And yes, while I was taking these shots, I did listen carefully. Just in case I could hear an episode of I Dream Of Jeannie, with Major Nelson in conversation with his devoted genie.

For Photo Story Friday, check out Mama Geek and Cecily.

29 comments:

Monique said...

It's lovely to see how you go from a close-up to a little more to plenty in a row.

Daisy said...

Ah, I love the beautiful bright colors! I really enjoy your stories behind the shots you take, David, explaining what you are illustrating. The stories turn your photos into poetry. Thanks so much for sharing these. :)

Sandi McBride said...

thrown pots...oh how I love them...the colors the shapes, the sizes the variety...oh how I love a thrown pot...the indivual ridges that are unlike any other...I'd love to own them all...I'm greedy for color
Sandi

Louise said...

Beautiful indeed. The colors are wonderful. I love how they were displayed. Just a feast of color. (And if I were a genie, I would pick something this pretty in which to live.)

Lee said...

Love the vividness of those colors, David. Especially the first picture. Somehow they are bold but soft too. And they are warm colors. Very nice!

Cheers!

Maggie May said...

I just love those photos. I love the colour of the pots and the arrangements. I only just noticed the mutant pot. I wonder if it sold OK?

ValleyGirl said...

Well, not only are you a brilliant photographer, but you're an awesome story-teller, too!! Missed that in my Wordless Wednesday-participating days!

Very cool pictures and great narrative!

CrazyCath said...

Ah David infinity is so visible through a lens isn't it? And it is awesome.

I love the second shot. I think the neck of that one is slightly narrower too.

Brilliant photostory.

Betsy said...

I don't know about the genie, but I think I would like to make a nice home for a few of those pieces in my kitchen!

Hilary said...

I love these phtos. The colours, texture, shape and contrast.. all gorgeous. I'm always so impressed with your photography and stories.

imbeingheldhostage said...

If these pictures were in a catalog, I'd order! Lovely.

For The People said...

Great job! Keep up the good work! Hope you have a blessed weekend!

quilly said...

Photographic perspectives are fascinating to play with. I few days back I posted a photo of the Honolulu Community Concert Band which looked as though they were playing inside a fast food restaurant, when in reality they were about 10 yards away.

Nessa said...

Beautiful colors. Makes me think of a carnival.

Robyn said...

They are beautiful and the pots are too.

April said...

Beautiful pottery! And BEAUTIFUL PHOTOS!

Cecily R said...

Once again, David, I just adore the way you see life through a lens. The ordinary somehow becomes extraordinary.

Great PSF!!

aims said...

I love pottery and the colours in these - oh my!

Left a vote for you on the Blogger's Choice Awards!

Jacki said...

These are beautiful, and I always enjoy reading the story behind them.

A.Bananna said...

very pretty!

hope you are having fun!

carrie & troy keiser said...

I love checking out your photos. All the info helps to teach me a little more each visit.

Bunny Trails said...

Beautiful shots! I love your DOF in that third one. And I agree, a camera in hand does so much more to demonstrate infinity. I can see why those caught your eye that day. The story makes it all that much more interesting. And the reference to I Dream of Jeanne is quite nostaligic.

Momma said...

I'm afraid I would have left there poorer and with more stuff to carry. I love handmade items, especially kiln mutants!

Peace - D

Working mum said...

I love this series of three photos showing different aspects of the pots. I learn so much from your photos. I may have technical knowledge with a camera, but the true talent is the artistry that you demonstrate. Thank you for sharing.

Susie said...

I instantly started thinking of all of the genies I know when you asked the question in the beginning. Very cool pictures and I love the last one.
Your photography is incredibly impressive. I can't wait to see more.
Great PSF!

Supercool Hotmama said...

Beautiful! India sounds like an exotic adventure!

Golightly said...

Very beautiful capture of the pottery, although it makes me want some of those pretty hand-created pieces!

Jules~ said...

I always learn something from you with your shots and explanations. I was looking at these pictures and trying to figure out what was wrong with the lighting. I think they look great and impressive. Then I realized they look so good because of your skill. Whatever problems you encountered with the lighting, you definitely fixed.

MamaGeek said...

I just ADORE the eye-candy perspective of this shot and the vibrant colors.

Hope youare having a FANTASTIC vacation David!