Friday, November 5, 2010

Displaying photos: The square photo grid

Serendipitously, just after posting my monthly special on squares, I found out that one of the members of a movie group I attend has a display of square-framed photos in his home. I asked if he wouldn't mind sharing them on my blog and he graciously accepted. I have done posts in the past about gallery displays, but this is my first post about photos in another person's home. Of the two, I much prefer the context of real life. In fact, I may just have to make this a regular feature.

I'll let Scott tell you about the photos
These are all photos I originally took with my Olympus OM-2, mostly on Kodachrome, and then digitized and converted to monochrome for the wall installation. Each has significant family value, either because they are shot in places where ancestors originated or lived, or because they are places Judy and I have been to together. I wavered back and forth about whether to crop the photos themselves square or not, and decided in the end to keep them all landscape (because most are landscapes, or because I'd need to eliminate key family history elements in the cropping). I did not restrict myself to set ratios, as you will notice, in order to add a bit of randomness to what was a fairly ordered arrangement.

Here is a brief background of each photo, numbering 1-9, left-to-right and top-to-bottom:

1. Sandbar at low tide off the western shore of the Isle of Man. My Manx ancestors' graves are in a cemetery immediately to the left of the photo, on top of a steep, sandy cliff that erodes away in the winter storms each year, contributing more and more ancestral bits to the sandbar...

2. Veteran's club, Castronovo, Sicily. My wife's maternal family immigrated from this village in the 1920s and settled in New Jersey. The old men in the village gather at these clubs during the day to play cards, talk and drink.

3. Sunset over the Cousenon River near Mont St. Michel. Judy and I camped along this river on our first trip to France. This is where it has been made into a straight canal, in man's never-ending fight to control nature ("le couesnon en sa folie mit le Mont en Normandie").

4. Fence bordering St. John's Church, central Cardiff, Wales. Just to the right and inside the fence lies the tombstone of my 4th-Great Grandmother, Ann John, who is buried with her son. Her husband and other children joined the LDS church and emigrated to Utah in the 1850s.

5. Puri for sale on the train platform in Agra, India. Judy and I spent a day exploring the town of the Taj Mahal, and while we were waiting for the return train to New Delhi this man pushed his cart with steaming hot bread up and down in the afternoon light.

6. Almond orchards in bloom, Kashmir, India. Judy and I saw this scene from a taxi early one afternoon while we were on a carpet-buying excursion. The workers are taking a break after gathering up branches pruned that day.

7. Italian fishermen setting off for the evening in their boat along the coast of the Adriatic, near Ancona. We camped there one night, on our way north to Venice after visiting distant relatives of Judy's father's family in Foggia, Puglia.

8. Deer Creek Reservoir, looking west, during a lull in a thunderstorm. I was driving back from Park City one evening and caught this very interesting study in gray.

9. Minamijima Island, Ogasawara (Bonin) archipelago, Japan. This limestone island 500+ miles south of Tokyo has a natural arch through which the ocean flows. We took a study abroad group there, and Judy is wading in the shallow, warm water.
Thanks, Scott for sharing your inspiring use of photography in the home!


Unknown said...

I really love this. What a great wall project. It looks awesome. Very special pictures and memories.

Shawna said...

I just found your blog while looking for a tutorial on the clone stamp tool. Thanks for all the tips! I'm giving you a link to one of my blog posts about doing a photo wall in my home.
Duh, just realized mine are rectangles and not squares...oh well...