From time to time, I happen along the perfect subject. Instead of poking a prodding a scene through a camera lens to eventually arrive at an interesting composition, I can see it right away – there is often little I need to do other than set up my tripod and use my camera to capture what I see in my mind. I have found less than half a dozen subjects like this in more than a decade, but have been profoundly glad for each of them.
The curled, cracked paint on this rotten garden shed was such a subject. I was coming home through an alley when I saw it from a distance – and immediately, images of finely-detailed stained glass, fractured desert salt-pan, and smoke rising through calm air came into my mind. The light on the textured paint was perfect: some in shadow, and some side-lit in the filtered afternoon sunlight.
For me, this photograph rouses the same images as when I saw the shed for the first time, as though I'm looking into the ruins of some abandoned church in the desert. It reminds me a little of the old epic war poems: beautiful, lyrical, but appallingly apocalyptic and prophetic.
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