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I was searching my back catalog for something completely unrelated and stumbled across this photo. To say I had forgotten about it would be to overstate it’s effect on my mind. I’m not sure I ever really noticed it, or gave it a single moment’s thought 5 seconds after I snapped it. This is apparently the first photo I took during a family weekend trip to Philadelphia almost exactly one year ago.

The modern fancy building looking over the pair of more mid-century designs is One Liberty Place., and I really couldn’t tell you much more than that, except that I love how it turned out.

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This Queens Boulevard Sunset was taken one evening in July. I emerged from the subway coming home from work and there was this amazing sky. I knew I had a few minutes before my bus was coming so I walked about a block to get to a better photo spot and nabbed this with my Fuji x100s.

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So far this week I have used the bicycle locking stands reflected in the window as a jumping off point to discuss issues of art,design, function, creativity, repetition and change. 

Today we loop back to form and function.. Black and white film uses different chemicals and creates a different analog negative than does color film, and as such they are processed differently. Classic black and white film has chemicals that turn turn dark when exposed to light, along a simple binary color line of white on one end, black on the other, and infinite shades of grey in between.

This black and white film,, however, uses color film type chemicals and is processed as color film to create a black and white negative, creating a seeming break between form and function.. Yet the purpose of such films was to simplify processing for consumers at local film kiosks and storefronts, as such places often lacked the equipment for classic black and white processing.

None of which is relevant to digital photography, where the decision whether to render in color or black and white or color need not be made until long after the image is captured. The paradox of film is that limiting yourself in advance – with your choice of film, black and white or color, ISO rating, and even choosing different films that render colors differently or create varied amounts or types of grain – can cause you to see the world in certain ways inspired by how you expect the film currently in your camera will react to the conditions in front of you.

Horses for courses.
Tools for telos.
Form for function.

 

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Monday and Tuesday I used the bicycle locking stands as a jumping off point to discuss issues of art,design, function, and creativity. Today is about repetition and change. This image is functionally equivalent to yesterday,s, except this one adds two cars in the reflection, and subtracts a person walking across the street.

When I began this blog, I went a long time before I repeated a scene, subject, or even neighborhood (with the clear exception of series such as Bus Stops and Crosswalks).  I have long since given up that limitation, but still always consider when it makes sense to display similar images.

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Yesterday I set forth my thoughts on these bicycle locking posts, including how their shape related to their purpose, both in terms of aesthetics and efficiency. I mentioned I had been wanting to photograph them since I first saw some near Brooklyn Bridge Park in DUMBO maybe 2 years ago. When I first saw them, for a few moments, I simply thought they were art. I did not realize they were bicycle locking stations at first.  And I think that temporary misapprehension is what held me back from shooting them immediately in that context.

I’m always wary of shooting someone else’s art work, be it a sculpture, mural, or what have you. It seems too derivative, as if I’m just piggybacking on someone’ else’s creativity. Of course, photography is inherently a secondary act of creation. Whether our subject is a piece of art, a building, cityscape, portrait,landscape or something else, it is almost always something the photographer did not create. We can compose, direct, and move things around, but they are almost always persons or things we did not create. So you try to add something so the photograph becomes something more than just a plain, direct representation of what was there.

Shooting your subject as a reflection in a mirror or window is a cliche, perhaps, but it it something. I also chose the medium, in this case I used Velvia slide film. I did not go out that day with the film in the camera thinking that I wanted to shoot these items, but when I saw them, with the reflection, and he late afternoon light, and the colors, I thought I had something more that was not present in my previous encounters.

So here they are.

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