Tagged: Photography

travel tuesday: the doors of bruges

doors of bruges: wood

In 2014, I did all sorts of traveling. I love to look back at a calendar year, especially one as full as the year past, and tally my adventures. I visited one new country and two new states – 1.5 countries if we count Wales as a half. England, Wales, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium. Minnesota, Arizona, Florida, Ohio. A lot of planes, my favorite, and a lot of packing, my least favorite. But the new and exciting makes all the packing worthwhile, from the best schokocroissant ever in Basel, to the incredible apple fritters at the Donut Wheel in Tucson.

Okay, maybe I do travel mostly for the pastries.

doors of bruges: green

As a blogger, I’ve been terribly remiss in sharing my adventures. Much of this is due to my somewhat new belief that, when I’m traveling, I want to do more than capture the place: I want to soak it in. I can’t see, breathe, or explore a new place while observing solely through my camera lens. I’ve started to capture the photos that will recall a memory, rather than the photos of the sights we all know. Snowdon, the highest peak in Wales? Yeah, it’s a gorgeous mountain. But a picture of a brussels sprout leaf on the edge of the path? A reminder of the man who, on the day I climbed the mountain, was on his fourth and final day of pushing a brussels sprout up the mountain with his nose as a charity stunt (true story). Talk about dedication… and misery!

doors of bruges: wooden twins

In the end, regardless of the photos I have and haven’t taken, I want to share bits of my trips. Moments, ideas, thoughts, foods, whether they’re from last month’s trip or last summer’s trip. So, due to my love for alliterative post themes – which owes itself more to the fact that it makes an easy habit, rather than that I think it’s “cool” – I’m starting Travel Tuesday.

doors of bruges: blue castle door

This week, I was sifting through photos and noticed that, as ever, I am consistently drawn to doors. Whether it’s the doors of deutschland or Cleveland meets Boston, doors are my favorite because they have so much character. A quick trip to Bruges revealed a stunning assortment of wonderful doors, and I love this small, and entirely accidental, collection.

doors of bruges: green weathered door

Bruges is a darling, tiny city. Rivers and cobblestones and church towers; chocolate and mussels and, of course, frites.

the famous pommes frites of bruges

Who can say no to a mini bucket of frites?

doors of bruges: tiny blue door

I spent three days in Bruges with friends and we found good food and great beer. I don’t think the town lends itself well to a longer visit, but it is a magical place to see for a few days.

doors of bruges: wood and scooter

The wooden doors may be my favorite. Throughout Europe, I have seen so many gorgeous wooden doors, and they’re all so different. Wouldn’t it be fun to be a door designer? You don’t have to agree… but I think it sounds great.

doors of bruges: orange window

And here’s a window for good measure.

doors of bruges: orange and green

Last but not least, some green and orange for Brad and Sam. I will always stop for a good green and orange picture.

color, texture, and doors: photographic study spring 2013

rainbow drip wall

This study was only my second course working in color digital photography. Of course I am familiar with my camera and with digital postprocessing, but it was tricky to channel my photographs into a cohesive study.

violent hole in wall

My biggest challenge with my digital camera, something I’ve almost certainly mentioned here before, is taking my time. Film is precious, valuable, scarce: and so I line up every shot as best I can. Digital space is nearly infinite, so, when shooting digitally, I tend to snap away. That spray-shoot approach always leaves me with a folder full of photos, but rarely are any of them of true value.

mystical window reflection

So this study, for me, was about practicing the first and most important step: taking the picture. Each of these images was something that caught my eye, and instead of impulsively shooting away, I paused. I stepped back, framed the image in my head, then in my viewfinder: and then snapped.

I can feel the difference. I took my time, and I think that approach is reflected in the presentation of these photographs. They’re all things that are above everyday notice, but I took the time to really look at them… and so they’ve been transformed.

brilliant turquoise door

And of course, the doors. A guest critic came to speak with each of us individually about our work, and he said to me, “what’s with the doors?” I don’t have a good answer, and I’m not going to be artsy about it: I just like colorful doors. I think they’re pretty. That’s why I took pictures of them. But maybe, by taking my time, I made the pictures a little bit more special than otherwise.

turquoise door with handle

The first half of the semester study was posted as February’s photographic gems, and I also posted the end-of-semester gallery display here, if you’d like to see how the whole study looked on the wall. I think it was a successful study, and very good exercise for my viewfinding eye.

art studio gallery show: my photographic prints

me, contemplating art (my own...)

At the end of every semester, the Art Studio hosts a week-long gallery show. It’s a wonderful chance for us to display our art, and it’s also a great way to preview the art course offerings – many students don’t realize these classes are available at such a technical school.

My work in this show marks the completion of my Photography minor. I completed two independent studies: one in Black & White film, one in Color Digital. Pure contrasts.

machine shop photos: black & white prints on fiber paper

I had difficulty choosing subject matter for my black & white study (i posted about it back in January) but finally decided on hands/body language/gestures. My intent was to capture the many things we can tell about a person without seeing his or her face.

After a few rolls of film filled with failed attempts, my study took a better turn. I took my camera to a familiar place, a place filled with interesting and hardworking hands: the machine shop where I work as a Teaching Assistant.

machine shop photos: black & white prints on fiber paper

I captured my students and my teaching assistant buddies, all working hard and all speaking volumes with just their hands. I can feel how awesome Ryan feels when he sits on that table for a quick break, and I can tell Valoryn’s hand belongs to a girl by the way she holds the handle on the mill. And Jim’s hands, practiced and worn, celebrate 20 years of teaching.

I’m happy I used this study to capture something so precious to me. I’ve loved the 1.5 years I spent in that shop, and now I’ve captured it forever.

color digital photos: textures

My color study focuses on textures, patterns, and, well, color. The first half of the semester was posted in full here, and I will post the rest soon. The digital prints come together so much faster – we don’t get the bonding time in the darkroom like I do with the film prints – so I don’t feel as attached to these. But it felt wonderful to see them all together on the wall.

There’s something to be said about hanging art. All semester, I’ve referred to these as “studies”, but they don’t become cohesive studies until they are up on that wall, coordinating and opposing one another, drawing parallels and contrasts, and saying, “I am art. That’s why I’m on this wall.” It feels good to finally have them all displayed.

I apologize for the awkward lighting in the photos; I intend to make scans of the black & whites and post them in full. But I love having documentation of them on that wall.