Photography, Roadworks, and Yellow Lines

Lately, it’s been impossible to work on photography — except the odd cat shot, and a portrait or two. Both of which deserved more attention on my behalf.

A while a back, I mentioned in an article that I was working on a story; love and friendship. I’ve about had it, for one lifetime, that entertainment should all be about people shooting each other and hiding the body. A little of the old friendship and heartache story writing can do wonders for the soul. Make us think, enjoy, and relate more deeply to the value of love and joy in the world.

If it’s a story, there must a conflict involved.

Photography creates an urge, a need to work silently with an image. Something catches your eye, and you have to stop and investigate it.

When we feel the urge to stop and look more deeply into a composition, then there’s obviously some type of conflict happening within the mind.

You’d agree that when you take a photo you can feel tension and resolution. You look through the viewfinder, frame, see the optimal composition, gently press on the button, lose it, readjust, and so on — tension and conflict in the making.

Sometimes it’s hard to press the button. The feeling that once you capture the moment, the opportunity has passed, and what you did will be the all and final summation of your abilities.

There’s a feeling that we put everything on the line while we frame an image, we do our best to gather everything into the composition, light and shadow, colour, perspective, moving objects like cars and people, the odd cat that strolls by.

Taking a photograph is a moment when the brain is totally “switched on”, like a power plant with all levers set on maximum output.

Today, I was walking through Berlin, camera in hand and not feeling all that photographic about life, but something caught my eye and made me stop.

Deep cadmium yellow lines that form into arrows, perspectives that draw the eye back along the road to a church, Nikolaikirche, in Berlin, Mitte. Roadworks to the side that helped out with a touch more colour.

Nikolaikirche, Berlin. Jan 2023 — Winter Road Works

For me, there’s something there; I can’t tell you what it is, but I can try and reveal it, or as Susan Sontag said about photography, “disclose it”.

I like the shot. I had to wait until traffic had passed and the road was clear for me to quickly trot into the middle, almost, and take one shot. As soon as I clicked, I could hear traffic roar away from the lights behind me. It’s a one way road, but I’m not hanging around on a main road with heavy traffic overtaking each other two feet behind me.

It’s easy to tell you what’s not in the shot. Traffic and danger. I can do that, and rely on your imagination to create an image of what is outside of the frame.

As soon as I attempt to explain a photo, the words probably won’t match your thoughts, and how you look at the photo. More confusion that help.

Nevertheless, I do like road markings, like the deep yellow arrows.

It doesn’t matter where it is, or what it’s for, an arrow is a strong symbol that all humans respond to.

It offers a secure feeling that we aren’t lost. But, what if you were in the Amazon forest, and you saw a red road sign with an image of several arrows, with the three angled feather markings. Would you follow the sign or turn back? Just a thought about signs.

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