Suburban Ruins

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Last week, I had the good fortune of attending a lecture by a well-known street photographer, who shared works from his most recent series and talked at length about life in the field. It’s a stretch to even call myself a “photographer”–I’m just an amateur who likes taking walks with my camera!–but his words still gave me a lot to think about.

Street photographers, in theory, capture the quotidian: little moments of normal, human activity that are beautiful, or poignant, or humorous when isolated and appreciated. I very rarely take pictures of other people (in fact, I sometimes think the lack of agency of the “subjects” of street photography is a bit problematic) but I’d like to think I do the same with my nature shots.

Appreciating small, strange, and sudden flashes of beauty in my own backyard is incredibly uplifting. Who knows what miniature, silent dramas are playing out where forest meets concrete?

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A variety of tiny mysteries awaited me on my most recent walk: who, for example, abandoned this poor wilted rose on the macadam? (Let’s hope it wasn’t an enchanted prince turned into a beast!)

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And how did this perfectly smooth block of ice make its way to a muddy pathway when most of Friday’s snow and frost had melted much earlier?

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To close: why was this tarp left abandoned by this gorgeously singing stream, fallen like a ghost into the rushing water? (I nicknamed it Ophelia, of course.)

What strange, everyday encounters have you had in the world just outside your door?

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