Observation #17: Good architecture sneaks up on you, I think. The building you’ve passed 1,000 times waits for the right moment, the right light, the right balance of elements and then WHAMMO! she whops you upside the head and says ‘Pay attention!’”
I’m a firm believer that every building has a personality, a way of being on the land that says something. This weekend, I stopped by St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Altus, Arkansas just as the mass was ending. I listened to that building as I set up the photograph, and this is what it said: “Sometimes stone is delicate; always it is strong.”
Observation #15: Everything in the world speaks a thing.
Observation #14: Monochrome. Black and white. Sometimes shades of gray make the best photographs. Sometimes, though, we need people in full color.
(This mural in Fayetteville, Arkansas was painted by Octavio Logo. For more on the piece, read this article.)
I’ve lived in Fayetteville, Arkansas for eighteen years now, and I’ve passed the old courthouse hundreds, maybe thousands of times. As an attorney, I’ve tried cases there. I’ve attended gatherings there. I’ve photographed it over and over, even used one of those photographs as a sort of icon for a lenten project at church. On Saturday, everything was so gray and quiet, I knew I had to catch my old love in a new light.
Observation #13: It’s possible to fall in love again and again if you appreciate the changing seasons, the shifting shadows, the new light.
I captured this boy moments before he threw the dirty snowball at his grandmother, moments before her face was streaked with snow sludge and runny mascara (a photo I wish I could have captured without getting slugged).
Observation #10: There is a moment before the mischief is managed when the mischief seems like a good idea.
Inspiration is everywhere these days. Is it any wonder? In these days of division and vitriol, don’t we all need some good vibes?
Observation #9: Good vibes don’t make themselves.
*For behind the scenes content join the inner circle. Photo taken at The Church On Morgan in Raleigh, North Carolina with my iPhone, edited with Lightroom Mobile.
On a trip to southern Louisiana, I saw the bones of the old oak. The erosion of the marshland, the encroaching salt water, the change in climate—all of it takes its toll on living things.
Observation #8: Bones make beautiful photos, though that’s no silver lining.
Enamored by its texture, its finger-pointing steeple, I took the photo of the old brick church in Mooresville, Alabama. I loved the landscape image, the way the facade stood proud when framed just right. But as I stepped back from the church, as I took stock of the building, I noticed the way the shadows and light played on the front porch, the way they seemed to peel the layers of paint on the columns.
Observation #7: Sometimes perspective comes by focusing on a piece of the whole.
On our way back to Arkansas from a very southern Thanksgiving, we swung through Mooresville, Alabama, a pristine historic town that’s been preserved since before the civil war. Boasting the states oldest operating post office, a smattering of houses, and the sturdy bones of two American-ancient churches, the town is thick with history if it’s thick with anything. It’s the history that haunts, I think.
Observation #6: The American south is haunted with the things of God.
After the Thanksgiving feast, the children took to the bamboo forest. They hunted, danced, warred between the stalks, children as they are. From time to time they came from the shadows, peeked out from behind the stalks, made sure I hadn’t headed for home.
Observation #5: Children love the shadows, but they’re comforted by light and fathers.
I made my way to downtown Hunstville, Alabama for a little street photography. I found a little park by a quaint museum where the city placed a popup ice-skating rink. It was late in the afternoon, well before the golden hour and the shadows were long. None was longer than those cast by a little girl, laughing as she learned her legs on southern ice.
Observation #3: Children cast the longest shadows.
Observation: We all see art differently, that is, if we stop long enough to see it at all.
Examination: Are you too busy to see the art around you?
Observation: There are times when space becomes too cluttered—the house, the career, the accounts, the places of faith, whatever.
Examination: What keeps you from cleaning the slate?