There was a day, a few weeks ago, I decided I would try to challenge myself and photograph “ugly” things when I went out for a walk around the city. Of course, it ended up being that really warm, sunny Saturday when so many people were out enjoying the sudden break in weather. It was impossible to not see beautiful things that day. Even the ugliness barely looked ugly. And there were so many couples just wandering around, laughing, holding hands, and a man feeding pigeons. I think that’s just so kind. A lot of people really hate pigeons, but this man had brought a bag of bird seed and was throwing it for them. No word of a lie, he was backlit by the sun, as if he was some kind of angelic being in the gritty centre of the city, feeding the very birds that contribute to its grittiness.
People always seem so much happier on the first warm, sunny days of spring. It did feel good to not wear a coat that day. And the feeling is infectious. But…. on the grey days… there are still solutions to combating the cold and isolation.
Pretty donuts, hot drinks, and a book in a cafe with steamy windows.
Cute, colourful buildings against a dark sky.
Buildings with big windows and weird architectural features…..
Really, whatever you please.
So many times we visit a place over and over and miss the secret things that exist there. You can pass a bright orange building more times than you can count, and not even know that it’s an abandoned treasure. Finally, a friend of mine decided to look in it, and he snapped some photos and then I saw it for the first time. It’s like when you see a quotation or read a book, and it doesn’t speak to you, until suddenly it does. Sometimes I wish I could speed up those revelatory moments, but it just doesn’t work that way.
The best part about this place was the light. It streamed it through the empty door off the river. It wasn’t the easiest building to photograph from that standpoint, a wide dynamic range, but it illuminated the old stove and our faces when we stepped near the doorway.
I know that we can’t force revelations to happen, we can’t find perfect places that we don’t know exist, but somehow we need to find a way to be open to new experiences and not miss the chance when they come our way.
This spring has been full of abandoned places, and I love how you are transported back to the past for the length of time you are there. Yet, even there, time doesn’t stand still. Nature takes back the space. People visit and stay over night, or have parties there, and leave their drinking cups or water bottles. The dust is disturbed, the mattresses are moved. No place is untouched by humans, but it’s nice to venture into places that are neglected and discarded. There are so many, but you have to look. You have to be ready to slam on the brakes. You have to be willing to see beauty in unlikely places. Hopefully then, the overlooked places and knowledge will be easier to find.