Monday, September 19, 2011

On Simplicity (and Not)

3244 Prospect Street, 2011

Sometimes you want your pictures to be complex, dense with story or meaning and open to multiple interpretations.
And sometimes you just want to take a look at something, a place or a moment in time, and say, “Ah.”  That’s it. A simple moment, usually something with some symmetry to it.
Like a single green door on a gray background, the colors just unexpected enough to catch your eye and call your mind to a peaceful place.
3244 Prospect Street doesn’t have much of a story to it. It’s a private residence. I know nothing about who lives there. Given its location, it’s probably worth millions, yet true to its architectural roots and elegantly simple in presentation. I did have to Photoshop a crushed pizza box off the front step because I didn’t want to trespass enough to move it out of the way. (Which, in all honesty, I’d have probably done had there been a trashcan nearby.)
A couple of doors down the street, though. Not that would have been a story. The sign on the front of that building mentions some kind of retail management operation. I didn’t write the name down then and don’t remember it now. But as I stood on the street taking this picture of the green door, one woman after another arrived and stepped out of a fancy car and into the front door of that building. Each was striking in her appearance, stylish in her dress and make-up and wearing the kinds of sexy shoes that accentuate all the right places.
The kinds of people who advise you on how to dress professionally for the workplace probably would have tut-tutted that these ladies were overdressed. But that’s dress-for-success people for you. They like pin stripes, gray suits, blue shirts, red ties and dull shoes. These ladies, on the other hand, work in retail. They know style. They know it’s about theater and about being just enough over the top to draw your eye and challenge your senses, like characters out of Sex in the City.
Yeah, I know what you’re wondering.  Why in the hell was I photographing the green door when these beautiful and beautifully dressed women were right next door? It’s a good question. The truth is I was dressed in beat up old shorts and a t-shirt that was, by then, sweaty because I was halfway through a 6-mile walk. I had shots worked out in my mind. But I couldn’t imagine that if I’d asked to photograph them in those fancy clothes that they’d have believed for a moment that I was anything other than a stalking creep.
Note to self: Get some more stylish walking duds. Change name to Paolo. 

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