Wednesday, June 10, 2009

U Is For Unusual

Gold, Er, Cold Prospector

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON


One of the things I really appreciate about photography is that it has always enhanced my avid interest in everything around me. I was wrapping up a week in the Yukon in the first week of September last year, but could not bring myself to put my camera down.

There was just too much to see. Every street, every corner held a chance to shoot another image.

I had just finished a late lunch at Whitehorse and had about ninety minutes to kill before I left for the airport. Rather than sit down and spend a lazy spell, I opted to walk around and photograph as many scenes as I could.

I reckon I shot more than 100 frames in that time. The weather was beautiful, it was a sunny autumn afternoon and I was walking around a car park when this sight caught my eye.

A huge mural was painted on the side of a building. If the first photograph looks like a painting, it’s simply because of the way I’ve framed it. It’s the tightest of the six frames I shot very quickly, and I did that because I wanted the external pipe and the "No Standing" sign to be subtle clues without destroying the surprise.


If you look only at the first frame, you could be forgiven for thinking it’s an oil painting. It’s only when you start running your eye over the other images on this post that you realise how clever the artwork is and how beautifully the artist has incorporated the many irregular surfaces on the building’s façade.

It’s an intriguing piece of giant art, but I have no idea who actually painted it. I could not find a plaque with the artist’s name, but I have to conclude that the project was either organised or endorsed by the authorities of Whitehorse.

For a region that is famous for its gold rush folklore, history and culture, this rendering of a prospector would have to be a fitting tribute to a memorable period of Klondike history.


For the home of ABC Wednesday, go to Mrs Nesbitt's Place.

38 comments:

LadyFi said...

Wow - fabulous photos of some amazing art! I like meeting the unexpected in mundane places...

BumbleVee said...

wall murals amaze me every time I see one...saw some on Vancouver Island several years ago... .... the name of the town totally eludes me at the moment... beautiful...

Cynthia said...

What a clever mural, David. I think the middle photos are the most successful in communication the quality and impact of the work. The first one is a clever misrepresentation and the last diminishes the power of the painting. Too bad you don't know the painter...he/she deserves recognition...but why is there no signatue? Maybe the person is ego-free...or it wasn't allowed? I can see why you couldn't put your camera down! The Yukon...isn't it isolated? You are adventurous indeed. <3

James said...

That's a really cool mural, I love the different shots of it.

Shadow said...

that is absolutely amazing! definately worth capturing.

Nessa said...

The artisrt did do a great job on the mural as you did in teasing us along; D

I love the way no one paid attention to the no parking sign.

Granny on the Web said...

How fascinating! Maybe the picture was commissioned to satisfy the yen of some young folk who have to put graffiti everywhere there is a flat surface. Good artist anyway whoever she/he is.
Well caught on camera

Craig Glenn said...

You just have them stored up for years, don't ya David! Another great photo and subject. I loved the story and felt like I was included in the journey!

Craig Glenn

Moannie said...

I love this post, and the mural is superb, and thankfully you were around to snatch it for us.

Jeff B said...

I always enjoy seeing an artists work when it is so well done. The painting isn't bad either.

Sniffles and Smiles said...

Absolutely fabulous!!! Wow! What a mural...I LOVE it!!!! And I love the fun you had "fooling" us with your measured "reveal..." You have added your own panache to this intriguing bit of local aesthetic!!! Wonderful! ~Janine

Brian Miller said...

wow. what a cool find. makes you wonder the thoughts of the artist as they were rendering ...especially to pay such cloes attention to detail and use of the structure.

Russ said...

Cool series. Must be hard to paint put up a mural like that and have it marred with a no parking sign...

mssolitaire said...

That's a great mural!!! It's so cool to see a town represent their own history through art!

Alyson (New England Living) said...

Such beautiful shots! I feel the exact same way about photography. It makes you look at the world around you.

Charles Gramlich said...

I like that. LIke the way you pulled back and back in the photos.

Seamus said...

The building murals were my favorite things about living in the northwest. I don't know how it all got started, but it sure improves the look of the old brick buildings.

RuneE said...

All I can say in may amazement - well done both of you!

Lola said...

I like the progressing wider shots. Thank you, David for again showing us it all through your eyes/lens.

Ciao,
Lola xx

mountain.mama said...

Whitehorse is a cool place to visit, although it's been many, many years since I was there last. Great series of shots.

Babooshka said...

More than anything I get from your camera brain is Unique. From everything to perspective and composition.

Grace and Bradley said...

You are quite right, it is a fascinating piece of art. i like the way that your frame and compose each of the photos. Let us see the detail than gradually led us to see the big picture.

The Things We Carried said...

The things your eyes have seen!

Madame DeFarge said...

Love this and envious of the way you see stuff everywhere you go.

Rikkij said...

David-I've been to Whitehorse-cool, cool place. and that is a great mural. Thanks for posting it! ~rick

Maureen said...

We have a lot of murals on our buildings; I love them and am amazed at the artistry. As a painter myself, I know only too well how difficult it is.

Annie said...

Very interesting David. Thanks!

Janie said...

Great mural and photo of it. I like how the artist used the stovepipe as if it were a tree the propsector leans against.

SandyCarlson said...

Graffiti at its finest. Thanks, David.

K. said...

very cool...I feel terrible for not having visited in a while...I am knee deep in my blog and there seems to be little time for exploring!
Anyway, I wanted to ask you if you got my email? About delaying the interview?

Carolina said...

What a great piece of art.

jay said...

That is beautifully done, isn't it? And beautifully photographed too, of course!

The first one does look like a painting, for sure. And of course it is, but on a much larger scale than first suspected.

spacedlaw said...

That is a most amazing painting indeed.

Regina said...

Hi David. These are cool shots.
I haven't participated lately in ABC.

Rose said...

The muralist who painted this is certainly a very talented artist. I think murals can add so much to the urban landscape, and this one adds to the heritage of the town as well. Too bad the drivers didn't observe the no parking sign, though:)

Mara said...

Oh, he's in a tent (or close to). Suspense, suspense...

Q said...

Being a photographer has opened my eyes too. This mural is fantastic. While I travel I look for them, they tell the story of a place so very well.
Stay warm! Winter can be a wonderful time for photos...
Sherry

Karyn said...

Thanks for sharing your unusual wall. I like the way your photos take it from detail to whole wall.