Sunday, February 20, 2011

Mystery Revealed

As I went back in time in my photo file to find an image that would reveal yesterday's mystery, I came across this photo of the ceiling in the Gaudí designed Casa Batlló. Actually, I came across two photos of this ceiling, and I remember them well. At the time I was editing, there were two different compositions I processed similarly and liked, but I couldn't decide between them. Since I couldn't decide, I just left them in the file and didn't do anything with them. As I reviewed these images yesterday, this specific composition jumped out at me as being the more interesting of the two. It was absolutely, crystal clear in my mind. Why had I had such a debate long ago?

This is a great example of how we grow and change over time. My style and eye has been refined since I worked with these photos eight months ago, and I have a different response to the images from that time. I see the world from a new place, a shifted perspective. Have you ever gone back in time, and discovered wonderful things in your old photos? There are many gems for you there, I guarantee it.

No one was able to guess what yesterday's image was, and I'm not surprised. It was a bit abstract, and requires a little bit of a history lesson around architect Antoni Gaudí. Gaudí was inspired by observing the world around him, and the catenary arch is one example of this philosophy that you can see in many of his designs. A catenary arch is the shape that a chain or rope will make when at rest, the forces perfectly balanced. When you turn this shape upside down, you have the shape of a very strong arch for building.

The image I showed yesterday is the mirror reflection of a grouping of chains that Gaudí used to design a cathedral. The hanging chains form a series of loops that become arches and domes when viewed in reflection. The whole set up of this exhibit was very neat, with the mirror and the shadow on the wall to help illustrate the concept. Here are is an image of the chains "right side up" to help you see what you were looking at.

Here is yesterday's image of the view in the mirror, in color. A little more context helps you understand what you are seeing, doesn't it? It's amazing how we as photographers can manipulate reality, just by including or excluding context. That's what makes this medium art. We, as the artists, get to decide.


  1. I love the way we evolve and change as artists over time and how looking back at some of the work we've done can really show us how our perspective had changed.
    I love the photos, I am yet to see any of Gaudi's work in real life so thanks for sharing these photos :)

  2. Aren't you the tricky one? That is an amazing image, love what you did with it! Gaudi was such an imaginative architect -- how I'd love to go back to Barcelona to see his work again. (And photograph it, of course) :)

  3. Well of COURSE it's Gaudi. I knew that.

  4. I wouldn't have guessed what it was. Very abstract and works really well.

  5. I don't think it is gaudy at all.

  6. Funny, I have spent the whole weekend going through images from the last year trying to decide which ones would make good notecards and I'm finding all kinds of things that I never noticed the first time around or I did not take time to play with the image to see what could be done. Yes, my perspective has certainly changed, especially since I have been sharing my images here in blogland and not just printing. Endless possibilities - sometimes I wonder about all those that I deleted! I have been trying to keep up with key-wording as I amass more and more images and also continually delete those I don't think I will use. It's a big job, but can't complain! LOVE your mystery image!!!

  7. This is a wonderful article. Thank you for sharing, very exciting.
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