As I have shared, I am exploring several areas to learn more about this space that is macrophotography and use it as a springboard for my photographic artwork. What would be a new way to wander the streets of international cities and take a fresh look at what surrounds us? How would the narrow street inform our thinking and add to our experience as we enjoy the adventure?
This week we stroll through the streets of shops and homes along the narrow streets of Seville and Cordoba. Cities heavily steeped in history, conflict, and a mixture of powerful forces in history that are sociologically tectonic. Walking through the city streets it was impossible to not consider that weight. Walking quickly by we would likely miss important details. Walls reveal the burden of time, gravity and weather’s effects. One can easily pass up by interesting photographic opportunities in a harried attempt to get to the typical tourist images. Adjusting the view leads to different perspectives of the same wall and materials. Consider the age of the stone form the load bearing horizontal line in the photo above, the two neighbors tending to their individual wall sections. Individual brush strokes are visible with a coarser brush and thicker paint on the left side and softer brush with a thinner paint on the right.
Pride and a curated sense of color radiates from this home’s wall. Attention to ensuring the outward face of the edifice shows well, is clean and colors play well off each other seems to be a value of the people dwelling inside. Which do you prefer the dominant red, taupe or the more staid horizontal line? It was hard to see the effect of time and the elements as they care for their domicile. As we all seem to be in a race against time and the elements…
Sticking with good neighbors and good fences theme, walking further along while in Cordoba, mixed media elements pop into view. Bricks sit on top of a stucco wall and beige wall play off of each other. Textures and different methods draw distinct lines between walls and home. Narrow bricks have an almost coarse brutish feel when you look up close which contrasts with the smooth cream colored wall and the lightly dimpled beige section. Small chips and light peeling give us a sense of time’s passage.
The deeply cracked plaster in photo #2 show reveal the mortar undersurface with the more resilient intact stone and metal with its petals. Do the fault lines of the plaster bespeak quality of craftsmanship or the effect of trucks and heavy vehicles passing close to the building? Having driven these streets any and all vehicles get close, really close to these walls. An impact, direct or indirect, is not hard to fathom. The metal part on the right and the stone underneath seem be trying to lean in and support the less resilient stucco and mortar.
Image #3 brings our photos from further above and shows them abutting against their neighbors wall. The stones veins, chisel marks, cracks and have a nice effect for the photograph. They quietly merge to create a speckled veined block of grey on the right side of the picture. The two stones also create a dominant swathe of color and texture quite different from most of the walls. Lastly the pattern reverses to have the broader color band be on the left and the two smaller rectangles complete the right side with its defects as water undermines the stucco. What patterns do you prefer?
Two juxtaposed walls show different colors, textures and either orientation on the street and/or time of day. Repairs and patches to the underlying wall sit palpably close to our eye’s view underneath the layers of paint. Brush strokes that reveal themselves on one wall are nearly imperceptible on the other. We can see attempts to hide stucco chips and bubbles from the effects of time, gravity and water – inexorable forces of life on earth and universe.
While walking through Seville, we wandered in the the Plaza de España one evening. A delightful park with a remarkable building constructed in 1929. There are 52 beautiful vibrant colorful tile fresco sitting areas that represent every province of Spain. As I alluded to above, that is where everyone takes the easy photo. Further along, the semicircle wraps around a water feature that brings a calming effect to the hustle and bustle of the open area. People, couples, horse carriages, vendors all mingle to and fro. Likely as they have done for nearly a century. My predilection is: where is the picture I want to capture? My eyes and mind wandered looking up, along the tiles, the colors and patterns. Then the texture of the walking surface underneath caught my attention. It was night and the only available light were fixed streetlights. The sun had departed and was shining somewhere far away around the bend of the horizon and the moon was a setting sliver to the west.
I began to get closer to the ground to understand the Plaza’s walkway. The patterns came into view and were clear. Allowing them to reveal themselves or creating them by holding the camera in certain directions new photographs come to life. Asymmetric offset quadrilaterals appeared. Stones appear to pour into the squared patterns or leap through the corners where a bottleneck between two adjoining corners. The mortar was worn to uneven degrees creating more or less shadow. This created increasing and decreasing amounts of depth. Immobile stone had liquidity . Thoughtful designers worked with the masons to create patterns that stood the test of time. Unique fingerprint patterns came into view. They were organic and reminiscent of a practice we learned about in Alcazar to mark the artisan’s work several centuries ago and persists into today.
Rotating the perspective the stones compliment each other and choosing different square patterns with varying sizes of stone the patterns became more intriguing. Which are more interesting to your esthetic?
All in all, these were a great escape from the microscopic world in my photo studio with its blazing hot lights and the intensity of macrophotography. If you are interested in a particular print, simply DM or email me and we can talk further.
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