Aesthetics of Everyday, Part Two: Photographs of the Ordinary

12 January 2012

Lens:

These five photographs are my salute to the everyday, the ordinary objects nestling in my home. Each seems to suited to a black-and-white format.

Mustard Seeds January 2012;

Mustard Seeds, January 2012; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2012

John F. Kennedy Half Dollars, January 2012; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2012   
Scissor Handles, January 2012

Scissor Handles, January 2012; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2012

Legos, January 2012;  © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2012

Legos, January 2012; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2012

1924 Corona Four Typewriter, January2012; Legos, January 2012;  © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2012

1924 Corona Four Typewriter, January 2012; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2012

Please let me know which one of my images is your favorite. Also, I’d like to know which is your favorite everyday object to photograph.

Pens:

The birth of photography was a simultaneous event: in France by Louis Jaques Mandé Daguerre and in England by William Henry Fox Talbot. As the use of these outrageously fantastic innovations continued, artists captured their surroundings or invented them. Events such as World War I and II reshaped the way photographer documented human history.

The ordinary has been a photographic subject throughout the history of this art. Think what: William Henry Fox Talbot (1800-1877) did for the door, Edward Weston (1886-1958) did for the egg slicer and pepper, André Kertész (1894-1985) did for the fork, Tina Modotti (1896-1942) did for telephone wires, Thomas Demand (1964-    ) is doing as he creates and reconstructs 3-D models of the ordinary. Lastly, ponder the iPhone users who routinely are shooting everyday objects. That idea floats through the neurons and just cannot let go.

The Open Door. 1844, William Henry Fox Talbot

The Open Door, 1844, William Henry Fox Talbot

Fork, Kertesz

Fork, 1928, André Kertész

Egg Slicer, 1930, Edward Weston

Egg Slicer, 1930, Edward Weston

Wires, Tina Modotti

Telephone Wires, Mexico, 1925, Tina Modotti

Thomas Demand

C-Print, 1995, Thomas Demand

In a mere twenty-seven years (2039) the bicentennial of photography’s emergence will be broadly feted. In that quarter of a century much will change technologically, and its hard to forecast the medium’s possibilities. But certainly the ordinary, the everyday, the ubiquitous still will be seen as a visual curiosity for interpretation and reinterpretation.

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16 Responses to Aesthetics of Everyday, Part Two: Photographs of the Ordinary

  1. roguedragon says:

    I love the Legos picture the best- I didn’t even recogize them at first, and that was the best part!

  2. Nancy says:

    Love the black and white! And, especially the scissors

  3. Ever since I became aware of microscopes as a kid I’ve been intrigued by the way an everyday object can lose its familiar identity when you zoom in close enough. Your scissor handles are an example; without the caption I’d have had no idea what they are. I think you’re right that “certainly the ordinary, the everyday, the ubiquitous still will be seen as a visual curiosity for interpretation and reinterpretation.”

    I can’t say that there’s any particular object I enjoy photographing in that way. When I get very close to my usual subject, plants, I often find things I didn’t expect, and those surprises often become the subjects of photographs.

    Steve Schwartzman
    http://portraitsofwildflowers.wordpress.com

    • As you so aptly point out, one of the advantages of our love of the moment,which we capture through the lens, is seeing up close and personal. My macro has given me a whole new insight into nature and human nature. Thanks for your comments, Sally

      • Happy macros to us! I’d be lot without mine. Pushing that thought further: just the other day I was wondering what sort of equipment I’d need to take pictures through a microscope.

      • Oh, I’ve been thinking about that concept for a long time. Did you ever look at Nikon Small World? I’m in awe of the work captured with equipment that goes deep into the layers of an image, Sally

      • Thanks for the tip about Nikon Small World. I’ll have to see what equipment Nikon has and, more important, how affordable it is.

        (I guess you understood that I meant to write that I’d be loSt without my macro lens.)

      • Yep, I also would be “lost” without mine. My regret was getting an 85 mm instead of the 105 mm, but I do have a few external magnifying lenses to add. Let me know what you learn, Sally

  4. Great post, Sally. And love these macros of normal things. I love photographing normal things, but then I don’t get to travel much, so it’s what I see most also. 🙂 As to what I like most, I don’t know. I just love noticing shapes, and lines, etc. so just things that appeal that sensitivity in me. Love this post. And it will be interesting to see what comes in the way of changes (Nikon D4 🙂 ).

    • Thanks Katie, you definitely have a fabulous array of landscape and colors to study in Santa Fe. There is much to be excavated by really seeing in our immediate environment. We’re constantly challenged by the frame within the frame. Congratulations, you got a new camera. I have a Nikon D50, which I’ve been using for years–and would love to take the leap to another Nikon (I do love my camera.). Let me know how you like your new companion. Happy exploring, Sally

  5. Gracie says:

    I like the photo of the typewriter the most. It reminds me of my childhood, how life was so simple back then.

  6. Hmm, it’s a tough call (they are all great in unique ways) but I reckon the Lego one is my favourite – I like the ambiguity involved.
    Everyday object? Well, I like going out on the streets, so whatever I find there is my favourite object to photograph. But, I do have a thing for doors.

    Great post, Sally!

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