Don’t Doubt the Artist’s Eye

Mixed Brick Wall Composition 3
Mixed Brick and Mortar Wall Composition 3

Back in early March, I found this most interesting brick and mortar wall in downtown Winston-Salem, NC.  Apparently, a building was previously torn down leaving this wall on the adjacent building.  While photographing this series, a couple of dudes walked up and stood behind me.  The looked back and forth several times between me and the wall.  Finally, one commented “I’m not seeing what you’re seeing”.   I smiled and politely informed them I was capturing the interesting shapes and textures featured on the brick wall.

Mixed Brick Wall Composition 1
Mixed Brick and Mortar Wall Composition 1

Afterwards, I thought about the involved procedural steps required to create a final work from what first inspiration your “mind’s eye”.   When I decided to drive to Winston-Salem the following Saturday morning, I knew there were potential compositions contained somewhere on that brick wall.  Fortunately, the subject was flat, so I didn’t have to think about depth of field.  With the camera setup on my tripod, several compositions started to reveal themselves.  Back home however, an approach for how I would process these images seemed to elude me.  After several attempts, I abandoned the series and moved on to other work.   Maybe, I didn’t really see what I thought I saw that day back in March.

Mixed Brick Wall Composition 2
Mixed Brick & Mortar Wall Composition 2

Since I shot this series, I’ve experimented with different processing approaches and finally found something I felt would work for this series.  I’ve been recently compositing sepia toned black & whites with just a bit of select color from the original image, which was processed to emulate the warmer tones of vintage Kodachrome slide film.  So after an investment of several hours, I’m pleased with the final compositions represented in this post.  Its fine if others doubt your vision, just don’t doubt yourself!

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30 thoughts on “Don’t Doubt the Artist’s Eye

  1. It’s a bit rude for those fellas to stare like that isn’t it? In any case, I like the images. It speaks to me in terms of time passing. And the lives of those whom built these walls.

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  2. I loce Comp 1. Didn’t know what I was looking at, an ancient desert village?
    Great eye.

    “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” – Henry David Thoreau

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  3. The series looks wonderful. I’ve had people question my photography too, so I can relate to you on that level. None the less, I don’t know what they were questioning, it looks beautiful to me.

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  4. It’s interesting you think the wall is flat and didn’t have to worry about depth of field, when it’s quite obvious the wall has many hills and dales. You’ve captured the detail and abstractness beautifully! I like tbem all.

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  5. In interesting story of the creative struggle – sometimes I’m glad that a lot of my photography is documentary! I really love the effect you have achieved. The building resembles a paper structure in a mix of origami and wasp-nest styles 🙂

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  6. I appreciated your post. My husband is a photographer who creates painterly photographs. I have stood by his side on many trips around the world as he holds and moved his camera through a long exposure. Oh does he get looks. He is completely unaware of them when he is in his zone. I love him fiercely for it. Your work is evokes great feeling of curiosity and wonder. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. Thank you for sharing your similar experience. I’m somewhat envious of your husband, my wife doesn’t take much interest in my work. It helps to have an advocate close by. Last year I posted about being visited by the police, while working a scene.

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