Towards Evening in an Alameda Parking Lot
As a photography teacher I often advise my students to avoid boring or distracting subjects,… like parking lots. In contrast, when I want to assign a visual challenge to my advanced students I will ask them to find a boring subject, like a parking lot, and use their critical thinking and observations to find the extraordinary in the finer details. I build my class on the foundation of ways of seeing – that being a photographer is less about the camera and more about how we train ourselves to look, to see, to notice. The eye scans and sees the whole yet we notice only a few parts of any gaze. Gestalt posits that the parts are greater than the whole because we group the whole without considering the weight of the parts. Elliott Erwitt claims, “Photography is about finding something interesting in an ordinary place,…it has little to do with what you see, and everything to do with the way you see.” As a cloud aficionado I always pay attention to the sky. I look up first thing as I step out into my world and scan the horizon. Throughout the day, I keep looking up, focusing especially on gathering clouds (or lack of) nearing golden hour. I am constantly mining the particulars of sky. Walking into this parking lot where my EV Volt was charging, I stopped to frame the astonishing view that makes even a parking lot exquisite sometimes,… taken by the geometry of architecture in sharp contrast to the organic sprawl of clouds.