Sunday, October 18, 2015


Most of the design photography we deal with focuses on the pristine beauty of space. It's mostly about propping, getting out the wrinkles, and lots of fresh flowers. There's an effort exerted into making space look idealized with the result frequently ending in space that doesn't look lived in . The trick is to make if feel comfortable and ultimately desirable without seeing any of the normal aspects of everyday living having occurred there; no spilled milk, no electronic cables or beds made by army personnel with the ability to make it so tight you could play jacks on it. Making these portfolio pictures is an art form that takes a certain photographic eye and frequently a ton of stylists as well. I do love looking at these images and working with a creative team when the opportunity comes to photograph one of our projects but when I'm out on my own and traveling the real world I enjoy looking at settings that might not be completely pristine but encompass a different beauty that comes completely from its disarray or dilapidation.
Emptiness can be very powerful telling a story that may be more potent than a room full of perfectly placed memorabilia. There's a real sense of loss in this series of doorways that bare enough detail to suggest the sense of a rich life now swept away. As barren as the walls appear they are rich with the feel of hidden stories.
There are times emptiness isn't always obvious at first glance. The story is presumed to be abandonment on this beautiful tile façade until your eye moves upward and the sky pokes through the roofless building. That's where abandonment turns to sorrow. The terminal inevitability rests in the eyes of this façade as if it was a damaged shelter dog doomed to be euthanized.
A tree being striped of its limbs, its needles scattered over the floor its beauty completely rendered to a single unadorned pole has a thousand stories to tell. One of those stories is strength, the strength of still standing tall and still wearing its miniature crown of green needles from a holiday now a part of families history.
The are so many magnificent religious edifices in cities all over the world. The ornate trappings of the secular world display themselves in the form of ornately carved woodwork, sculpted stone and statuary, gilded accessories and museum quality artwork hung on the walls. Finding a piece of the ecclesiastical holding a forgotten history can be more impressive than all the silk robes and velvet carpets of the churches that can still cling to a tithing flock.
The permanent artificial smiles beaming atop a ripped synthetic dining chair, their heads resting against a fiber cabinet topped with a TV almost old enough to have shown original episodes of Howdy Dowdy belie the octogenarian they belong to. The light leaks peaking through the thin walls behind the stuffed toys and the makeshift lock holding the door together signal a sense of time running out but there is tremendous humility in what remains.
Even bad design can go so far adrift it brings its own sense of humor and turns a bad moment into a bursting bubble of joy. The over-the-top chinoiserie of this bedroom bath is so wrong it's wonderful.
The beauty of Europe is usually depicted in its historic architectural gems: The Eiffel Tower in Paris, Big Ben in London or the St. Charles Bridge in Prague. But perhaps the spider webs woven into the lamplights on the entrance to Prague's bridge and the way the light spun the web into gold was more impressive than the bridge itself.
We frequently throw away images that aren't in focus and don't fit the mold of a perfect shot, but perfect can be very hard to define. This technically dirty photo is still perfect to me. The light, the composition of the way the image captures the weather allow the focus to be on the raindrops rather than the plane's wing. Drawing focus away from the exterior and onto the window makes you contemplate what you can't see; what might be happening inside the plane.
There's a quiet quality hiding something more significant in this unattended room. The serenity in the monochromatic hues seems to tell one story of peace but you can sense the opposite may be true. The smallness of the chair, its ripped upholstery and stained cushions tell a story far more complex, like the crumpled toilet paper left discarded on the floor.
Light can make the simplest of compositions come to life. The light through the window, the light creating the patterned shadows on the back wall, the single beam of light slashing like a sword at these garden tuteurs take this image far beyond a garden shed.
The overwhelming assault of color and graphics make the visual debris at this street fair a circus of delight running around and around like a merry-go-round. The layering of banners, colors and letters waste no time in drawing you in and make you swallow it up like a gigantic slurpee.
I'm never one to shy away from a little dirt, even in a photograph. There are times when a building can look its best even in disarray. The open archways can have a dignity in their layers of debris. There is still beauty when things aren't perfectly placed and the floor hasn't been properly swept.

Palace Theater, Gary, Indiana 2008
Andrew Moore, photographer
Represented by Yancey Richardson Gallery

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