Saturday, November 15, 2008

Rustafarian

Sorry, But I Can’t See Your Dreadlocks

Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON


One of the questions every photographer has to grapple with is an elementary one: is there beauty in decay? My answer is equally elementary. Yes, there is beauty in many unusual aspects of life. There is a certain joy in shooting portraits of people with weathered, lined faces. Likewise, there is an attraction in taking shots of desolate landscapes or faded glory.

This pickup truck, riddled with rust across its entire chassis, caught my eye a couple of months ago. As I shot it from three or four angles, I couldn’t help wondering about the person who once drove it in pristine condition, with shiny paintwork and perfect chrome, straight out of the showroom.

Rust is simply a generic term for iron oxides formed by the reaction of iron with oxygen in the presence of water or air moisture. Some years ago, I read an interesting newspaper article about the baffling appearance of rust on trains that ran along a series of beachside suburbs. The rust appeared only on one side of the carriages, while the metal on the other side was unaffected.

The riddle was quickly answered. Because the trains did not use a turntable at each terminus, they always ran back and forth with one side facing the beach and the other side facing the city. Hence the corrosion only occurred on one side. I never thought I’d say this, but that’s got to be my favourite rust story.

Maybe I’m getting a bit rusty myself, hey?

Visit TNChick, creator of Photo Hunt. Today's theme: "Ruin".

24 comments:

Maggie May said...

What, you, David...... never!
Read the heading wrong and thought I had read rAstafarian and could not find one anywhere in the picture or the story. Bit slow on the uptake today!

There IS a beauty in old rusty things...... but I'm not volunteering to send my photo!

Katney said...

Portions of Washington state have sometimes been called "the rust belt."

spacedlaw said...

Absolutely (and you have illustrated this well). I love rust and old crooked or broken buildings. I do find them very evocative; after all decay is a sign of a rich life normally. Even mold can be interesting...

CrazyCath said...

I love how you can show us beauty in the decay. The way you framed that photo is just perfect.

But you rusty?
Ha!

mrsb said...

I would rather see the weathered faces and rusty trucks any day than the so often only outward beauty of the "perfect".

Cheffie-Mom said...

Wow, what a neat photo - I wonder where that truck has traveled? (:

74WIXYgrad said...

You like rust? Come visit Ohio. Because of liberal use of road salt in the winter and closed factories, we are truly part of the rust belt.

Mushy said...

That is a great shot David...suitable for framing!

Moannie said...

Pwack! that is the sound of me hitting myself upside the head. Did not get the connection. Staring at the photo thinking, David is going to ask us a question, what is hiding in this picture, and what has it to do with dreadlocks? Duh! Good one.

And yes, there is beauty in old things, I should know.

Hilary said...

Great shot as always.. you sure keep it interesting. So did this rusty old truck travel on its own routes in its day, or did it drive along any old "car road?" ;)

cheshire wife said...

Only you could make a photo of a rusty old truck look like art.

RBK's Realm said...

That was a very interesting fact about rust on only one side of the trains. It is amazing how you take the mundane and make it so interesting...

Sara Chapman in Seattle said...

I love this photo. I notice it's from my state, Washington. Maybe all the moisture up here made it rusty! Love your photography.

Thank you for your kind words, and thanks very much for visiting my begonias on Flowers for today.

Sara Chapman in Seattle said...

I meant to add to my comment above that I was in Liechtenstein in August one year, and that country is one gigantic begonia festival. Never seen anything like it.

Jen - Queen of Poo said...

That is a good rust story, and now I'm going to be looking at trains more.

Sandi McBride said...

Okay David, I am so terribly sorry but I see nothing attractive in this bucket of rust...maybe I need a long shot...
Sandi

YTSL said...

Interesting photo, even more interesting accompanying comments. :)

womaninawindow said...

Oh David, this is my favourite. Old things, rusty things, decay, they're all the stuff of my day to day.

RJ Flamingo said...

Nice shots, David! And a good story, too - having lived near a beach for a number of years, I knew the ending ahead of time - I lived it. :-)

I love the textures of "ruined"! Here's mine:

http://flamingofotos.blogspot.com

Have a great weekend!

ancient one said...

Even ruined rusty things are beautiful. Our imagainations tell us what they used to be. Great take!

Deb said...

if only more people agreed with you. we could put the "beauty" industry out of business. i still can't figure out why men look distinguished with lines across their face, while women must just be "tired". i have to confess, i buy into it, too. i don't so much mind my laughlines, but the ever-increasing bags UNDER my eyes are getting difficult to ignore.

that being said, i paid a ridiculous amount of money for a new dining table that was made to look aged. with my boys' help, 10 years later it looks even more beautiful.

Annie said...

It's such a beautiful photo and I love the train story. I'm guessing that the side facing the ocean was the rusty one, right? Happy weekend!

Fat, frumpy and fifty... said...

I see beauty in most old things, being a vintage clothing lover (seller too) and l love distressed furniture, real not faux...so l love this image...all the colours merging, the eye has to seek out the definition in the composition...
loving it David.

jay said...

Yes, there is beauty in decay. One of my favourite photos from the Grand Canyon is with a dead tree in the foreground. And I found several old rusty trucks on our drive through the US earlier this year!

And let's not forget landscape. While there is a stark beauty in freshly formed geological features - like volcanoes - there is even more beauty in ancient, weathered locations, such as Bryce.

The colours are often better, too.