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Unlikely Beauty

Alcatraz Copyright  Andy Richards  2011

Alcatraz
Copyright Andy Richards 2011

I was recently reworking the images for my LightCentric Photography website, when this thought occurred to me. It is interesting how often a subject that we would not normally associate with “beauty” or “aesthetics,” lends itself to photographic imagery. The  image is of the Guard Tower on Alcatraz Island, formerly a federal high security penal institution. In a “word association game,” it is unlikely that upon hearing “Alcatraz Guard Tower,” the first thing that would come to mind would be pretty. But nice light, atmospherics creating a colorful sunset sky, and compositional elements combined to make this an image that I found compelling enough to make.

One doesn’t normally think of industry or agriculture as “beautiful,” though farm scenes can be “scenic,” or bucholic. But farm machinery isn’t generally in the category of “art.” I have always thought of this classic International Harvester Combine scene as an exception. What drew me to the shot was the light of the late afternoon sun backlighting the combine, filtered through the dust created by the soybean threshing reel.

International Harvester Combine Copyright  2002  Andy Richards

International Harvester Combine
Copyright 2002 Andy Richards

Again, most of us do not normally think of military action and “beauty” in the same train of thought. But the bold, blue and yellow colors of the Navy fighter jet, with the bloom of exhaust gives the impression, of speed, grace and … yes, even beauty.

Blue Angels; Fleet Week Airshow; San Francisco, CA Copyright  2011  Andy Richards

Blue Angels; Fleet Week Airshow; San Francisco, CA
Copyright 2011 Andy Richards

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