“It’s Hip to be Square”

With respect to Huey Lewis and the News for their song of the same title—and to rebels, romantics and nonconformists of my generation—photographers have long known of the practical beauty of a square image. It’s symmetrical and requires no effort to turn a camera to a vertical position, then back again to horizontal.

The square is neither in landscape nor portrait mode. It just is.

Innocuous

Photography and writing—as in life—consists of details small and large. When I tote my camera, I’m alert to details that shape the so called “big picture.”  It’s easy to get caught up in the bigger items [buildings, cars, trees, signage, e.g.] while things far smaller [cracks in the sidewalk, flowers, bird on a wire, e.g.] are thought of as incidentals to the place and moment I’m in.

But now and then, I tell myself to pay attention to details that are inconspicuous as well as innocuous. Such details remind me that in my own life, bigger, faster, more costly, etc. is not always better…

 

Summer Sea Wings

It was the earliest summer day I could remember in a long while. And it wasn’t even summer. Temperature records broke yesterday; it was 92F [33C] just about everywhere in New England save for points just south of Canada’s border. This early visit of hot weather “took” me to the sea shore.

They’re not particularly pretty. Their singing voice is far from being one though instantly recognizeable. They can make a mess of things in parking lots, boardwalks, the top of cars and awnings. But when they’re in the air, well, that’s a whole other matter. They are graceful gliders and with a even a mild wind, they’ll hover effortlessly in place.

This isn’t traditional birding by any means, but it’s close enough for me. Sea gulls could make good marketers. They can cover a lot of ground in a given area [market size]; they can quickly spot food at a distance [target audience] and they are persistent if not persnickety [a certain interactive style and management approach].

If they had an awareness for all things sartorial, sea gulls would have a certain spezzatura, a level of nonchalance, bravado and dare I say, a quiet confidence that fits their environs and the season they thrive in. They wear white, off-white or cream with contrasting shades of grey, black and brown. It’s always in style, en vogue for summer.

They don’t have the panache of a peacock, the grandeur of the golden eagle or the pixie-ness of the hummingbird. You would think that their commonality would make them the poster child of avian commodities. No, the standard bearer to that claim would be the nearly ubiquitous pigeon…followed by the sparrow.

Yes, sea gulls have become more audacious on a crowded beach, but who, if anyone, could resist an open bag of potato chips? Or Smart Food Popcorn[tm] or—an all-time favorite—Goldfish Crackers! Cut them some slack this summer. They are reminders that it’s time to put some block on your nose rather than have it at the familiar grindstone.

For those suffering holiday [commercial] season stress…

“It’s not what you get, but what you think you’re getting…” Carlo Centeno

I‘ve said and used that one epigram countless times when teaching, when conveying nuances about branding, attribute positioning and when attempting to make sense of features and benefits not only in marketing, but across all that is Life, mine and others.

The holidays are tough for many. I’m not alone in this. Funny how art, music, literature, et al have a way of refocusing one’s POV. That POV may be for one moment, but it’s enough to shake you and pull yourself together to help find the best things within the moment at hand. And “best” does not have to be anything grandiose; small gems can be just as grand.

So on those days, when I think I’m getting blasted by the commercial beasts of the season, I remind myself of my aphorism above and recall the lyrics to this song, “Watching the River Run,” a timeless salve created by Kenny Loggins and Jim Messina.

16-westcatskills-1945

If you’ve been thinkin’ you were all that you’ve got
Then don’t feel alone anymore
‘Cause when we’re together then you’ve got a lot
‘Cause I am the river and you are the shore

And it goes on and on, watching the river run
Further and further from things that we’ve done
Leaving them one by one
And we have just begun, watching the river run
Listening and learning and yearning to run, river, run

Winding and swirling and dancing along
We passed by the old willow tree
Where lovers caress as we sing them our song,
Rejoicing together when we greet the sea

And it goes on and on, watching the river run
Further and further from things that we’ve done
Leaving them one by one
And we have just begun, watching the river run
Listening and learning and yearning to run, river, run

Written by Jim Messina, Kenny Loggins • Copyright © Universal Music Publishing Group, Gnossos Music / Milk Money Music

Feeling Juxtapositions

14 Fall Yel+Red-1004363

Is it possible to look at a color or series of colors that can make you feel cool or warm? The red potatos and yellow onions above suggest warmth. But do you feel warm or warmer? Probably not. They’re too abstract in its context for feeling or suggesting warmth. Instead, you might be thinking more about lunch or dinner. Being food items, your appetite might trigger thoughts of eating. Granted, red and yellow are warm colors, but our interpretation covers a gamut of possibilities, all dependent on the subject at hand.

14 Fall Yel+Red-1004378

Autumn is my favorite season. There’s an inverse relationship between the colors red, yellow and orange and that of temperature. As the season progresses, those warm colors emerge, some in magnificent fashion, but the days—and nights—grow cooler. I look forward to both the color and the much cooler days and nights.

14 Fall Yel+Red-1004380

 

I like the juxtapositions presented this time of year.

13 Oct-1002689

I love Fall’s palette of color, often greatly enhanced like a center-stage spotlight when the sun is either rising or falling.

 

13 Oct-1002695

One thing you cannot ascertain from any of these images is just how cold it was when the shutter was clicked. The first image, naturally, was taken at an indoor market. The others offered not only the colors shown, but a range of temperatures from way-too-cold-for-this-time-of-the year to downright balmy and pleasant.

I love this time of year…