Today’s image comes from a long walk I took along the Rillito River; there’s a walking path along the wash that cuts east-west across the northern area of midtown Tucson. There’s something to be said about walking along a nature trail and seeing these massive, man-made structures of concrete, steel, and rebar. To me, the straight line is a marvelous symbol – it’s the exact opposite of nature.
The trajectory of perfectly straight lines does exist in nature, but this kind of vector doesn’t occur because of the presence of other influences. For instance, trees would grow perfectly straight, but shifting soils, uneven distribution of nutrients, wind, and other naturally-occurring factors produce randomly mutated fractal patterns.
Day three is over, and ‘Abstract April’ continues tomorrow.
The Rillito River no longer runs twelve months a year, although it is credited with Tucson’s early growth. During a brief period of time, I lived along the wash and rode my bike along the hiking path whenever I could. During the monsoon season, the stretch of the river wash near my apartment would erupt with the sound of chirping frogs, and sometimes at night I would hear packs of coyotes howling.
Beneath the Swan Road bridge, I made several studies of the steel beams. It’s a simplistic composition, but I always thought it looked interesting through the viewfinder of my Fujica Half vintage camera. This is one of the many pictures I made during that time.
This Sunday’s photograph of the day is one of the older classics I’ve always loved and nobody else ever seemed interested in. That’s just one of the painful little things you have to get over when you’re an artist; almost every single painting or photograph that I love are the very paintings and photographs nobody seems to like. And those pieces that I’m not so sure about? The ones I even consider throwing away or deleting? Well, people tend to love those the most.
It’s just one of the ironies.
Nevertheless, I remember looking at the negatives, still dripping wet after being developed in my friend’s kitchen. These are Fujica Half images, so there were tons of exposures to look through. The composition of these really intrigued me. I had a small pile of proof prints eventually made, and that’s when I realized how I wanted to display these images. Thumbing through the proofs, I saw this image upside down, and it really intrigued me. It looked like an alien city or a futuristic concept.
I was reminded of the scene from Steven Soderbergh’s “Ocean’s Eleven” where the fidgety tech character is in the labyrinthine hallways to seek out the server room and tap into the security camera output for the hotel. The room itself is flooded with blue neon light and looks incredibly alien – it turns out that the film’s location scout had looked at a photograph of a server room upside-down and though it looked neat. So the set was built, complete with neon lights coming from the floor, rather than from the ceiling.
Happy little accidents. It’s the simple things we don’t think of that can really influence our work. That’s why critique is important, and why artists like to bounce ideas off each other. Some small little detail may make all the difference.