Friday, March 16, 2012

Balancing life--and shapes

We're back home from our trip and trying to find the balance in our lives now that we're off the road.  While we were traveling everything was organized to get where we wanted to go and make our days work well.  Now that we're home things are feeling at loose ends.  It's not just about unpacking, it's about trying to remember what it was we did in our days before we left on our six week trip.  I know it will come and that things will come back into balance.  But it takes time.

Meanwhile, I'm remembering that I like to participate in Kat Eye View's Exploring with a Camera.  And significantly (or not!) the theme now is Balance.  In particular balancing shapes within a photograph.  You can see Kat's thoughts on this at her blog Kat Eye View of the World.  She was looking at a beautiful Rothko painting and it brought to mind some of the wall photos I took a couple of years ago.

These are photographs of various painted walls in the old part of Mazatlan.  Here the houses are stucco or cement that flow into one another along the street.  What caught my eye was the way the colours of the edges between different dwellings created something like Rothko paintings.  I actually took hundreds of images. The ones that work in my mind are those where the colours and shapes achieve a kind of tension and balance.

Like this one where the flaking paint creates a band of white that changes part way across the field of orange and yellow.   I like the way the deeper colours are balanced by the white and the grey, and those little flecks of deep blue in the cracks.

Here's another one where shapes balance. The diagonal horizontal gives interest, but the real tension comes from graffiti  in a couple of the sections.  I also like the changes in tone in the yellow quadrant.  Something about this photograph really appeals to me.

Here's another one with chalk writing on it.  Without the writing the image would be quite boring I think, even though there is interest in the tonal changes from orange to pink and from blue green to golden.

I'm linking this post to Kat's Exploring with a Camera series so you can see other photographers' thoughts on this theme of balancing shapes.


  1. Hello Joanna, So now you are back from your long period of travel and trying to find the balance again in your everyday life.
    I like the shapes you show above, very much like modern art! I like the irregular lines of the first one and the cracks in the lower part and I also noticed the blue coming through! You're right, the second one is interesting because of the graffiti- I like the way you've cropped all pictures to make the lines irregular. Yes, the change in yellow in a more rounded shape, breaks up and softens the other straight lines.
    It's interesting to see the way we exclude some parts of the images gives us the drama and impact.
    I like Kat's theme this time too and I'm still at the experimental stage at the moment!
    Have a lovely weekend.

  2. Welcome back Joanna! Interesting to hear you talk about rediscovering what to do with your days. 6 weeks away is a long time - long enough to reset the routines of home, apparently! These are fantastic examples of balancing shapes. I feel the Rothko-ness in the first one too - you distilled this scene down to the basics of color and shape, then balanced them together. All beautiful. I like how you mention tension... the contrasts of the graffiti, the curve, the surprising elements on the more serene backdrop of paint create great tension, I agree. A wonderful exploration of balancing shapes here! I'm so glad you linked in, it's good to have you back!

  3. I always feel unsettled when I shift from one indepth stage of our work process to the next.. i know how you feel, it really does take time to adjust..

    .. Your images are all frameable.. beautiful compositions!!

  4. Joanna, Welcome home! You've outdone yourself with these photos. I've been to Mazatlan, but you've seen it with the eyes of an artist and poet.

  5. I must say, your photos are wonderful.

  6. Hi,

    I found you on the A-Z Blogging Challenge. Interesting blog, I look forward to following.



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