I walked back across campus late this afternoon after a meeting and took my time, looking for a way to complete today’s assignment. We were supposed to have a little ice and snow last night, but instead we got wet drizzle. The rest of the day has been sort of gray and foggy, so I figured the light wasn’t going to be very helpful.
I was really struggling with the assignment. I felt this pressure to find the perfect thing to frame–and no single object seemed very compelling or interesting. I was reminded of a project I did years ago while working at the University of Montana. The staff in University Relations distributed film to about 15 people who worked at the school (faculty and staff) and asked us to spend a week taking pictures of the campus. The idea was to see how our different perspectives created a different visual take on the place. It was a tough assignment. UMT has some very beautiful buildings and the campus itself is quite lovely, but it was so hard to look beyond the surface of what I saw everyday and discover something I might not have seen before. At the end of the week, University Relations developed our photos as slides and we all gathered for a slideshow. I got a couple of good shots, but there was this one guy who just took the most amazing pictures. He took pictures of ordinary things: staircases, banks of windows, bike racks. But he framed each one so perfectly that you saw something in the photo that you would never have noticed before.
I thought about that project today, as I struggled to find something worth framing. This guy was able to frame anything, it seemed, and make you see something new.
In the end, I took this shot of a vase of flowers that sits in the entrance to my building. I held the camera as far above the table as I could and just blindly shot. I took three versions, and this one came out best (although I did do a little cropping). I like it a lot, actually, but I don’t feel like I can take too much credit for it. It felt lucky.