July 2015 Forum Competition – Beauty Everywhere

One of my clearest memories from college is that of my photography tutor one day storming into the classroom and throwing a handful of prints on the desk in front of me. ‘There,’ he said. ‘There’s proof that you can find subjects anywhere.’ This little outburst had been a reaction to something I had said the previous week.

It was a comment that I had said in passing but apparently it was a comment my tutor was sick and tired of hearing from his students. I had complained there was nothing interesting to shoot in the area. The prints my tutor presented to me demonstrated, in his eyes, that there was beauty to be found everywhere. You can find it in the rusted paint of a car door, or a decaying leaf, or in the reflections in a shop window. In retrospect, I realise now my tutor’s images were pretty poor, but I took his point.

July 2015 Forum Shortlist

July 2015 Forum Shortlist

Back in July I asked you to look for beauty in the everyday. I wanted you take a beautiful image of something that other photographers (my old tutor excepted) would perhaps overlook – the more mundane the subject the better.

There were several images here that I was fond of. One notable image was by Miked and was called ‘Empty Handed’. This is a perfect example of what I was looking for. Who else would look at a pair of gloves and see them as a beautiful subject? Not many I expect. But here Miked has seen that the texture and wear of the gloves can lead to an engaging image.

For me, I’m particularly struck by the holes in the fingers and tear on the wrist of the left glove. Another lovely image was ‘Glass Lamp Shade’ by lm1. Such a simple object has delivered so much to look at. It reminded me very much of Lazlo Moholy-Nagy’s Edges series. Take a look and you’ll see why.

Let’s look at the top three.

July 2015 forum Calton Road Sunshine

‘Sunshine, Calton Road, Edinburgh’ – Photo by AlanW

3rd Place
‘Sunshine, Calton Road, Edinburgh’ by AlanW

One of favourite activities is walking around the streets, camera in hand, and looking for the way the light interacts with architecture. When the light is right, the colours textures and shapes of a location are at their most beautiful. You don’t need me to tell you this. It’s evident in a great deal of today’s street photography. But here we find an image that is a lovely example of the genre and one that also sums up July’s theme nicely. So much of our life is spent wandering through the city with our heads down and letting the world pass us by. Who knows how many great images we walk right past every day. AlanW has made excellent use of light and shadow here. He has used the darkness to frame his subject of the pedestrian and also found room in the composition to include lovely little details like the signs and lettering in the top-left. The shadows creeping in from the branches just out of frame add a sense of dimension and extra visual interest, as does the small spot of graffiti. All of these things are everyday and all are beautiful.

July 2015 forum Lone Tree

‘Lone Tree’ – Photo by Caledonia84

2nd Place
‘Lone Tree’ by Caledonia84

Here we find something similar. Again architecture appears to be a key element, but in reality it is nothing more than a visual red herring. The real point of interest is the tree just poking its head above the building. The brickwork and windows are there to simply lead our eye to the fractal shapes of the tree’s leaves. The shapes of the branches and foliage stand in contrast to the manmade order of the concrete habitat. Caledonia84 has removed the colour from the image and it’s a good choice. Colour is unnecessary in this scene. I also like the fact the tree is just off-centre when compared to the building. Placing it centre would have made the image a little too clean and, perhaps the image a little unremarkable.

July 2015 forum

‘One Bright Spot’ – Photo by Landpixer

1st Place
‘One Bright Spot’ by Landpixer

‘During summer the local council creates some beautiful flower meadows by the roadside in Hampshire,’ says Landpixer. This is a gorgeous image, one bursting with vivid colour and beautiful shallow focus. I’m very fond of the fact that this little scene was built to bring beauty to the mundane location of a roadside. It’s funny how just little areas like this can really brighten your day during the daily slog. There’s not a huge amount to say about this shot, but that doesn’t matter. It’s a beautiful scene found in an everyday scene, and it’s July’s winner.

See the themes for the 2015 competition

Look at all the entries for this round

Read all comments for this round, Beauty Everywhere

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