Thursday, January 21, 2010

No Parking, No Politics #2

So I missed posting the Project365 photo to the blog last night. It's nearly midnight again and that would make two in a row. Well - let me catch back up...

I knew I'd have some time to take a photo after work in the evening, but since I was heading out for a rare meeting at a local brewpub I figured I'd take a photo of something there. While I did shoot a photo of my beer, it was pretty boring (but the beer was fantastic!).

On the way home, I decided to hit my old stand by. Yeah, I take a lot of pictures here. Being a rare clear January winter night, the water when I first got there was mirror smooth. I snapped a few with my iPhone, but then realized that it'd be a good time to pull out more horsepower. So I pulled my G9 out of my belt bag.

I took several shots, not too much different from ones I've posted on Flickr before, with slight variation due to more clarity/mirror smoothness in the water. Then I tweaked the settings and figure out the self-timer well enough to be able to snag a few self portraits for my Facebook profile photo.

As I was walking back to the car, I saw something I'd never really seen before. I mean, photography, ultimately, is about seeing. The more and more hardcore professional photographers (especially the really creative, artistic ones) I read about and learn from the more clear that becomes to me. Yes, shooting snapshots is great for documenting moments. And it's easy at times to create a "pretty picture."

But it's really challenging to "see" art. To make a statement. To say something with a photograph that makes you remember it. Really, I've only got maybe a handful of these types of photos in my portfolio. I've got lots of "pretty pictures" but I'm still not sure I've fully accepted myself as an artist.

I could talk for months about the technical side of photography. I know a lot about cameras and lenses and archaic gear. That's fun for me to dig around with. However, it's really hard for me to call myself an artist. I think I'm getting there, but I'm not sure. Certainly as I re-explore the passion for photography that I set aside for ~15 years, I'm emerging more as an artist and growing in that side of things rather than the technology of it. Well, really, I'm pursuing both...

This photo is all about context. I'd bet that many people who didn't know already what the building in the background was, could still determine that it's a governmental building of some sort. And in case there was any doubt whatsoever, I hinted that context in the title.

But there's more context here, too. Without actually capturing some element of date in the image itself (yeah, you can look at the filespecs and see when the shot was taken and posted to Flickr) you wouldn't know what's happened recently. At a local level, it's "Leg" time (pronounced like "Ledge")! For us local Olympians that has a certain context to it.

On a national level, however, one of the most recent political stories is that thanks to Martha Coakley's loss to Republican Scott Brown, the seat formerly held by the recently deceased Senator Ted Kennedy in Massachusetts will now be occupied by a Republican.

I could go on and on and I had several directions that I was going to take this post. But I've plumb run out of time and will just say that I really don't get into politics that much. It's not my cup of tea by any means. I really should, considering where I live and what I do for a living, but it's something that I really actively try to avoid like the plague.

As I've posted on my Facebook profile, my political views are thus: "Too conservative for the liberals and too liberal for the conservatives." I equally hate the Democrats as much as I hate the Republicans. I don't ascribe to a party. While I get their purpose and don't think democracy can survive without political parties, I just can't STAND what the two major parties in the U.S. have become.

One thing that particularly bothers me as a Christian is that I'm expected to follow the "pro life" candidates, which typically come from the Republican party. Sort of peer pressure, if you will, from my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. I'm sorry, but I absolutely refuse to do this. I still exercise my right to vote, and I take it very seriously, but I refuse to vote on one issue. While I do tend to vote along certain party lines, sometimes, it's only because I feel like I'm forced between the lesser of two evils.

So, following this, I see a lot of my friends excited that a Republican has booted a Democrat. I, on the other hand, see this as a sign of democracy in action. Ted Kennedy was a senator for a very long time. There is good and bad that follows this. Isn't our government supposed to be FOR the people and BY the people? Well, someone who's parked in an incumbency may or may not be able to do that well. I'll leave it up to the people he served whether or not Ted specifically did that. I'm not well-enough informed to make that call (and he didn't represent me directly, so...).

Okay, I'm rambling again on a subject that I really don't like to talk about and this photo definitely isn't about that particular situation or Ted Kennedy or Massachusetts. I don't take too many political photos - or at least I don't try to. This one, however, is all about politics. I'll leave the full detailed interpretation up to the people who view this photo. It should serve, however, as a reminder to those people serving in public office that there's no job security.

There's No Parking in politics. I know senators and representatives and those other elected officials all know this very well. Or at least they think they do. But they definitely need a reminder every now and again.

Finally - I did post the iPhone version as my official Project365 shot on Flickr (and shared it on Twitter). But that was just a quick snapshot and a placeholder as I processed this photo taken with a camera I had more control over. It's not a technically-perfect photo, but that's not the point.

It makes a statement. I've explained it a little more here to provide some context.

While I didn't plan this photo, I did "see" it after stopping at a place I frequently cover with my cameras. And photography is about "seeing" and communicating. Even if you don't quite get all the context here that I had when I "saw" this shot, I think the message might well be communicated...

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