Something has been happening both to my outlook and to my photography.
Partly this is a result of my upcoming retirement. I am adjusting to a world where work no longer plays a paramount part. Even now, some months before I leave, I feel a tangible loosening of the bonds of responsibility.
Partly it may just be age and experience. It may also have more than a little to do with the cumulative effect of the many of the issues and thoughts I’ve detailed here on this blog. Philosophical growth, I suppose I could call it.
Whatever the blend, the result is a fairly radical reevaluation of what is meaningful to me in terms of my photography. Long gone are the pretty or technically dazzling shots that used to preoccupy me. Instead, I celebrate – and I use that word deliberately – a certain kind of ordinariness. Scenes that I wouldn’t have given much a look to in the past.
Such as this stairwell.
It’s one of the access stairs in the St. Louis Art Museum. Unlike almost everywhere else in the building there is no art here. Just a cloakroom attendant and a fairly ordinary staircase.
I took it after collecting a number of art work related photographs. Those came out fine, but not in any exciting way. This, somehow, did.
I like the angles and the shading. The attendant serves as a far point focus of interest, the light shimmering off the bannister as a near point. They balance, yet none of the other lines and angles really do. Asymmetry seems to dominate, partly a consequence of the lighting and partly a consequence of the camera angle. There are large areas of dead space. The photograph draws you in yet leaves you unbalanced. It’s unsettling.
This is the type of photograph that appeals to me now. Ordinary yet unordinary. I intend to follow this path for a while.