As a photographer, it’s vital to have a vision, and to always keep your mind and heart tuned in and focused on that vision. There’s so much noise in the world, so many things that distract us, stress us, and compete for space in our consciousness. For me, a photographer’s vision is like a true arrow, pointing toward what is meaningful and honest about what I do. Earlier this week, while I was in the midst of the buzz of activities that consumes my life, I was struck by the stark, drama of the landscape outside my window. I stopped what I was doing, collected my gear, and stepped outside. It brought me back to what I love, what moves me. I never want to lose those roots, because they keep me centered, grounded and give meaning to what I do. Hope you enjoy…
I read an inspirational blog post this morning from a photographer I greatly admire about the nature of time and its fleeting quality. His words resonated with me and made me realize that, so often, we do feel like we can’t “find time” to do important things. But time isn’t found, he wrote, it’s made. I agree wholeheartedly. As a full-time working mother of two, I’ve been keenly aware of how one makes time for the important things for nearly two decades; every day facing many decisions about how my time is best spent as I juggled professional and personal priorities. Lately, with my children nearly grown, I’ve expanded that list of priorities to include my own creative pursuits, so that no matter what, each and every day, I’m satisfied that my life is spent on meaningful activity.
Time is fleeting, it’s true. But it’s also present. Here. Now. Reach out and grab the things you yearn for. They are right in front of you.
When I was a child, I often played pretend. An only child until the age of 11, I spent a fair amount of time simply wandering in my own imagination. Perhaps this forged the basis of a life of creativity, who knows? But one thing is certain–I still tap into this side of my brain with regular frequency. The image above was born out of this type of exercise, when I was in New York several months ago. I’d certainly seen the iconic Chrysler Building for many years, and marveled at its unique brand of metropolitan architecture, its needle tip piercing the sky. But until recently, I’d never actually stepped inside. When I did, I was instantly transported back to an earlier era. It was almost magical, really. I literally could hear the click of heels, elevator bells, and the bustle of what must have felt like the center of urbane modernity, back in its heyday. While the exterior of this building has captured much acclaim, the attention to detail on the interior is astounding by today’s standards. The beautiful marble, glass, and iron work that were the hallmark of the Art Deco period are still gracefully intact some 80-plus years later.
Given the maelstrom of sound and movement just a few feet outside on Lexington Avenue, a block away from New York’s Grand Central Station, it was amazingly quiet during the few moments I spent standing in the Chrysler’s cavernous lobby, framing different distinct images with my camera. I enjoyed just experiencing “the moment”–watching business people come and go, the elevators dinging and opening as they have for so many decades, and the quiet work of the window washer, maintaining the dignity of an architectural monument clearly deserving as much. These images tell a story for me; I hope they do for you as well…
Has this ever happened to you? You are walking around with a camera, playing the role of tourist in a major city such as Philadelphia like thousands that have before you and will surely come after you, and you think to yourself: What can I do, to capture this place that is in any way unique and creative? Sure, you can take the “memory shot” that says “I was here!” Yippee! And of course, we all do that. But beyond that, as a photographer, you have to challenge yourself, or you don’t grown and experience all that your visual eye has to offer. This is a view of the magnificent Greek Revival columns that uphold the Second Bank of the United States/Portrait Gallery in Philly. Their grace, size, and majesty are truly astounding, and the building, built by none other than William Strickland, is modeled after the Greek Parthenon. This is view I will remember of those columns–so cool, looking up at their aged and marbled towers–holding court next to Independence Hall since 1818. Hope you enjoy…
A pleasant surprise greeted me this morning at daybreak, as I walked out to pickup the morning papers and scrape the dusting of frost off the car…. this is why I keep a loaded camera ready! Moments later, this lovely moonrise was a ghost. Hope you enjoy…
I’ve been overwhelmed in recent months with a variety of photographic pursuits–all of them interesting, exciting, and some involving new skills and adventures–so my blog has been a tad quiet, comparatively speaking. But with the new year upon us now, I am refreshed and ready to get back on track. To inaugurate 2014, I have been dipped back into a wealth of images that I created earlier this year during a visit to Philadelphia.
For many people, both in the U.S. and worldwide, Philly conjures up such things as the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and other iconic Americana. And yes, that’s all there. But artistically speaking, there is so much more. This image is one of my favorites from a series shot at Eastern State Penitentiary. Yes, an abandoned federal prison, with a history as rich with stories and flavor as any you’ll find in the U.S. criminal justice system. Al Capone made his residence here, along with a thousands of others from its inception as a model prison in 1829 to the day it’s doors were finally closed in 1971. It’s an eerie place, to be sure–all cells have sat untouched for the last four decades, the ghosts of those inhabitants somehow still inside. This photo is taken inside the front central wall of the prison yard and to me, is a testament of the idea that life goes on; this small tree, somehow rooting and taking a foothold at the very top of the wall, where it can breathe in life on the other side.
The photograph below, shows the same wall from a slightly different perspective. In color, one can truly see the vestiges of life, moss, weeds, and the little tree, ekeing out existence among the ruins. One can only hope a few of the previous residents at Eastern State, were as lucky. Hope you enjoy…
Followers of this blog know I have a soft spot for natural beauty–wildlife, landscapes, the cosmos… but as a photographer, beauty often materializes in unexpected ways. Urban landscapes and architecture, for example, are often quite striking, as this composition demonstrates. Look at it for several moments and it becomes almost Escher-esque, with jutting and retreating facades simultaneously juxtaposed one upon another. Geometry of this sort resonates with us because while we are drawn to the logic and flow of lines and forms, we are also aware of the infinite possibilities within such patterns. Where does one line end and another begin? How are they connected? Where do they lead? Just a little Euclidean food for thought, a bit of musing, on a cold winter’s night… Hope you enjoy….
PS: To my current subscribers: Very soon, I will plan to change the site name of this WordPress blog to match my newly launched business name Deb Scally Photography. When that takes place, subscribers to 1107photography will be automatically redirected to the new URL name, which is already apparent in the blog header above. When that happens, don’t worry… it’s still me, and nothing else about the blog’s content or direction will change. This is, and always will be, a creative outlet for my personal thoughts and philosophy regarding photography. As always, thanks for your support, comments, and interest in the blog!
Travel and street photography provide one of the richest sources for inspiration for me as a photographer. As a kid, growing up in the era of Life magazine and pouring over my National Geographics, I was always drawn to the tapestry of rich images that filled those pages, drawing me in, making me wonder about the people and their lives which were so foreign to my own. As a photographer today, I suppose I am drawn to images that tell those kinds of stories, or at least hint around the edges of them. This photograph was taken during a recent visit to Philadelphia, as my family and I were awaiting our day long excursion on the Big Bus to see Philly from top to bottom. The gentleman was an amazing flautist, skipping from one patriotic melody to another with fluidity and ease, his small flags framing his meager spot of the 12th Street Reading Terminal corner he called his own. His talent as well as his dignity captivated me, and today, I wonder about his life and where and how he mastered his instrument so well. It’s a simple photograph, with so many stories to tell. Hope you enjoy…
I love the exercise of finding something beautiful among the seemingly mundane. It’s a great way to keep my photographer’s eye in shape–continually training it to see the forms, colors, and textures that come together to form an artistic composition. You’ll notice I use the word “training” and “exercise.” The quest to better my photography in this way is never-ending. Which is just fine with me. It’s a journey, and as a photographer, I enjoy every step along the way.
As much of the U.S., including my area, is being pounded with freezing rain in a not-so-subtle reminder that winter is here, I thought it would be nice to say goodbye to autumn with this warm and inviting image from just a few weeks ago. Fall seems such a fleeting season; it’s nice to hold on to it a little longer.
For the many followers of this blog that have tuned in and hopefully enjoyed my notes, ramblings, and visual offerings for the past couple of years, I would like to say formally say “hello” with a new identifying header, which aligns with my recently launched freelance photography business (www.debscallyphotography.com). The love of photography has been with me all my life, and I’ve recently decided to embrace, rather than fear, the challenge of taking it to new levels as a professional. Aside from the new heading, this blog’s mission won’t change–I will continue to use this platform to engage the side of me that thirsts for pure passion and creativity. Those are the two driving forces for anyone who is artistic, so I look forward to continuing on this path while I begin to embrace others as well.
Again, many thanks to each of you, for following, commenting, and encouraging along the way. This community has greatly bolstered my confidence and enthusiasm, allowing me to keep following my dreams.
Stay warm, wherever you are…