The accidental artist: Capturing beauty in ordinary things.

October 3, 2011

Looking out the window at O’hare airport

I’ve been shooting very random pics of people, places and things on my battered Blackberry then loading them onto Facebook. They are not very good.

Or are they? Upon further review these photos are some of the coolest pictures I’ve ever taken. Off kilter, blurry and of nothing spectacular, they somehow capture the inane beauty of life. If they were oil paintings I’d buy them, fancying myself hip and aware.

Mundane yet transcendent, the flotsam and jetsam of life made beautiful when isolated. My word for it: trans-mundane. I know I didn’t create or discover the ‘art of the ordinary’ but I feel like I did. Anyone can!

Waiting for bags in the jetway

Dubai, from a moving elevator

It’s like when you’re going through your photos, keeping the good ones and discarding the crap; you come across one that fits neither category. A mistake but it’s gorgeous, partly because it was unplanned, almost like God composed it when you were trying to do something else. Maybe He did.

Try this at home. Look out a multi-paned window and isolate your focus onto whatever appears in just one of the panes. Maybe it’s half a tree and the side of a building or an old gutter. Whatever. Now look at it again. Suddenly it seems like a perfectly composed landscape or still life; in other words: art. I think that’s so cool.

One of my favorite modern-era painters, Edward Hopper found tremendous beauty and emotion in seemingly ordinary things. The average painter could never do that. Yet, with a typical smart phone we all can!

In my other blog, The Rogues Gallery I feature artwork created by ad people when they’re not making ads. (Please, do submit!) Below are a few marvelous “found” photographs. Weirdly stunning.

Katie Sweeney, from her series Broken Umbrellas

Brian Brooker, a man’s boot

Mitch Gordon, out a moving train at dusk


3 Responses to “The accidental artist: Capturing beauty in ordinary things.”

  1. I really enjoyed Mitch Gordon’s out of a moving train at dusk. Thank you for sharing! and p.s. some of my best photos and edits have come from the camera of my cell phone too!

    • SRP said

      Thank you for commenting, lala.
      Mitch and the others have more from their respective series on The Rogue’s Gallery.
      Check it out…and contribute!

  2. Tracy said

    I love this — having just discovered William Eggleston this past year, and similarly New Topographics, and being thrilled by it.

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