The ordinary

David Hockney is quoted to have said “I’m always excited by the unlikely, never by ordinary things.” We can’t all be David Hockney. I take delight in accidents and ordinary things very often. For example, the accidental discovery that pressing the shutter release of a camera while cupping the lens in one hand can give you an interesting result. As evidence I give you the featured photo.

Say, it’s only a paper moon / Sailing over a cardboard sea / But it wouldn’t be make-believe / If you believed in me

Ella Fitzgerald / Billy Rose

Ordinary material from the kitchen has provided me with hours of fun. On a rainy day, stuck at home, I sliced up an onion to try to capture the contrast between the moist layered interior and the papery exterior. For another photographic experiment, I took two different colours of grapes and a bowl to provide a third colour; then a sheet of packaging to reflect light and intensify the hues. Do these experiments work as photos? You should tell me. But I do like photo shoots where you can eat the subject after you are done.

There are delightful times when you see something familiar in a new light. That happened to me when I decided to take photos of thorns on a rose bush rather than the flowers. A bit like the moment when you realize that Neville Longbottom may be even more extraordinary than Harry Potter.

But look around you … Death and light are everywhere, always… perhaps to create a thing of beauty.

Roger Zelazny in Lord of Light

This sudden lifting of the commonplace into the most extraordinary thing that you have seen is one of the joys of photography. If I had to choose a name for it, I would call it Photo Dhyan (the Hindi word means attention as well as meditation). I could start to sound like a mystic if I go on about it. But I’m sure you have experienced it yourself as you walk about with a camera in your hand, thinking only that you want to take photos. Perhaps you are wishing you had found a less ordinary place. But then something happens as you look around and begin to assess everything as a photo. Suddenly parts of the ordinary no longer look mundane. Share that moment from your archives. Or better still, enter the zone, and bring those moments back with you to share.

We hope you join us this week for Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #169: The Ordinary.  It is my honour to join Amy/Ann-Christine/Patti/Tina as your guest host for the week. Please include a link to my post and use the Lens-Artists tag so we can all find you in the Reader. I’m traveling right now, but I’ll be back on Monday to look at your entries.

Next week, Patti will lead the challenge, so we invite you to stop by her site on Saturday, October 16 at noon and join us.