Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Photographing For Irony and Ridiculousness

I certainly don't have to tell you all that I'm kind of goofy and playful, silly and ridiculous. I'm also an artist at heart, a writer and a psychic, but at the same time highly logic-minded and a very organized virgo. Saying all that, the way I view the world through my camera on trips isn't like most people. I hit the road and I'm not the person who stops and wants a picture of the town hall and typical tourist shots. I can get those damn pics online. Yup, it's a fraggin building. Like a zillion other fraggin buildings...

No, I try to look for the irony in things. Be playful. Look at it as if everything out there is for your entertainment. Don't take a picture of the beautiful people on the beach, take one of the soap box religious zealot waving pamphlets on The Strand and trying to convert everyone. Those are the things I recall about a trip.

The first shot above--at a cemetery--of a person's headstone with the last name "Coffin." I shit you not! IRONY!

The next one, hiking through the woods, tired, taking a breather, look up and there's a tree with a branch shaped like a heart. When I look in the distance, two limbs crossed in a giant "kiss" symbol. Photo op! I will always be able to tell you where that was in the woods and how I felt when I saw it and what it smelled like and the temperature and everything. You ask me about the pictures from Diamond Head in Hawaii and I yawn. Could have been any day while I was on vacation looking up at it from Waikiki Beach. Yada yada yada (yawn again).

On vacations, I don't so much care to see me and the family posed in front of some scenic landmark. I do "feet on vacation" shots that tell the story of the vacation depending on where we're standing and what we're wearing on our feet. It might be bare feet on a beach, feet in fuzzy slippers in cheap shag carpeting in a hotel room, feet hanging on the edge of an overlook. Our feet always get vacation shots!

Sometimes, it's the setting that makes you go "wow!" Julie and I did these shots of each other. I captured Julie in a ray of light coming through a lonely abandoned building. It was so poignant and such a peaceful feeling. I look at it and I recall instantly how those buildings looked and what I thought about and how it smelled and the way the sun felt on our skin coming through the ceiling cracks and holes.

Honestly, I asked Vinnie to see where the tunnels led, but this one was an accident. I backed up to take the shot and realized what it said on the ground. Now, it became a funny shot. I will always remember Vinnie just casually jumping in to inspect the hole and report back as if it were nothing unusual for me to order him to go in dangerous places.

On Julie and I's last trip to finish our book, we walked up a hillside set of stairs to inspect abandoned houses. I stopped where there were a piece of broken concrete with something written on it. It just looked beautiful on the ground and then I pulled it up on my laptop and realized it said "you are amazing." Sometimes, good shots come from serendipity.

The last shot was fun. We were waiting for our amazing Mexican food at the restaurant. I set down my purse and sunglasses and then as I was relaxing and looking around, I realized I could see us in my glasses, so I took a shot to remember us there. Not us sitting at the table, a shot taken by the waitress. Instead, it was as we were there--through the glasses at the table in our little world waiting for our chimichangas.

So, next time you're out on a trip, try not to take the standard shots. You will be greatly rewarded with actual memories. No one ever remembers standing in front of the White House and taking a shot. Oh, they remember they did it while they trudged around DC all day, but they would have remembered the trip more poignantly if they had taken a shot of their kid bent over tying his shoe and mooning the White House.

Humor, irony, ridiculousness, playfulness, artistry... Use them on your trip to have fun and make memories and take photos that will forever capture those moments.

I'm heading on my first vacation in over 2 years soon and I no doubt will get lots more of these bizarre pictures and a story to go along with them to share. You can see San Diego through my eyes and my experience. Don't say I didn't warn you!


  1. I knew we were destined to be sisters! I TAKE FEET PICS too! LOL Too funny! I also take shadow-friends pics. I'll have to post some that were taken when me, the ex, and two other friends went to Alabama three years ago to say goodbye to our dear friend Clay who passed away in his home; we found him. He was only 42. Heart attack. Those are the type of pictures I can remember the most, see in my minds eye, feel, etc. I know exactly where you are coming from!

  2. T-Dear;
    Yes, you definitely get me. We are sisters separated at birth, I do believe. I've had friends look through my pics from a trip and say "did we take the same trip?"

  3. That's because they cannot see the beauty in the things that occur around them on a daily basis. If you pay attention, spirit will speak to you and draw you to those things!

    Your heart pic reminded me of that same Alabama trip where I took a picture of a piece of something (stem, straw?) that was in a perfect shape of the number "2".

  4. T-Dear;
    You know, my parents did the usual pictures when growing up of us kids lined up in front of Monticello and places like that. Those have zero memories for me. When I see a candid shot my mom took of me with my head against the open window in the Cadillac, hair flying around my face like snakes, I remember where we were headed, that we just stopped at my favorite foot-long hotdog place and my mom took several pictures until she got one with my face able to be seen. I remember feeling giddy and smelling the salt in the air as we got closer to our summer home. My photos don't necessarily tell you where the hell I was, but they are snapshots of how I saw that place. My point of view. My own experience there. Those are memories.

  5. I feel the same way. I mean how many boring "insert family here" pics can you have.

  6. CB;
    So true. I knew someone who went to a famous place that was closed while he was there. He inserted himself in photos people had taken of the site. Thank you Photoshop for virtual vacations. Ah, the memories of sitting in front of the computer with tired eyes last at night.

  7. Nothing strange here. Mrs. MM and I take feet shots as well. It's fun.

  8. MM;
    I want to see your hairy monkey feet in a pic.

  9. Some of the best pictures are the ones you didn't expect. Looking into a giant pipe or the desert through the holes of a building, turn out to be the best photos. My favorite is the one you took of me looking up through the light seeping through the ceiling of the Domes. I will hang it on my wall as soon as I find the perfect frame. Getting into photography and hanging out with you has let me see the world in a different light. The places many would disregard as junk, we see the beauty and prove it with our pictures. Thanks Sis...

  10. Sis;
    I like to do the same for people. Even the most ornery ones are pearls of delight. There is beauty in everything and it's actually easier to see than the flaws.

  11. Beautiful captions. Looking forward for new story and pictures. I like the last with sunglasses coin and bag.

  12. Echo;
    Thanks sweetie. Yeah, I know my trip pics will be goofy. My son and his fiancee are bringing their little pups too and they will no doubt freak when they see the ocean. I suspect I will get some very funny pics of them. I wonder if I can get one of them to wear my sunglasses and lay out on towel?

  13. I agree...
    My sister took her daughters to a Fairy Festival up in Oregon. After a long fun day as the girls were walking ahead of her, down a leaf covered path, with their fairy wings dragging behind them, my sister took a picture.
    That photo, just showing the back of them, is hanging up in her home and speaks volumes more than any posed formal "professional" photograph ever could. :)

  14. You are so right! That is everything! I used to like to take pictures after the party. Where people left things, the crazy debris was just as memorable.

  15. Thanks Elgart. I hope to add some very strange ones from my vacation. My philosophy is, "it's all beautiful and it's all a story."

  16. You are good in writing screenplay type of stories.

  17. Thanks Echo;
    Some day, I'd like to write a comedy piece. I am working on a SciFi one, but I'm waiting to find someone with technical knowledge to help me tweek it.