Friday, February 25, 2011

Drawing the Remarkable out of the Unremarkable

I mentioned here that the movie Another Year does a fantastic job of drawing the remarkable out of the unremarkable, and since then, I've been looking around for other things that do that. Fortunately, I spend pretty much all day every day staring at my Facebook news feed, and noticed that my friend Chelsy Stevens has been taking photographs lately that totally draw the remarkable out of the unremarkable. She has been participating in Project 365, where you take a picture every day based on fairly open-ended instructions, and was kind enough to allow me to post some of her photos for you to see. Here they are, along with the instructions for that day:

January 18, 2011: Make a photograph with a triangular composition.

January 3, 2011: Make a photograph with a symbol or icon in it today.

January 14, 2011: Get a shot of something in motion today. Freeze or blur it.

January 11, 2011: Make a photograph today that features or uses liquid as a subject.

January 15, 2011: Make a photograph of two complimentary objects arranged to show their relationship to each other.

See what I mean? You would never have thought that any of the items in those pictures was remarkable, but the picture helps you see their beauty. 

While I'm on the subject of posting other people's stuff, I'm also going to reproduce the words of the late Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai, whom I think could possibly be called the patron saint of drawing the remarkable out of the unremarkable. This is from his 2000 book Open Closed Open, translated by Chana Bloch and Chana Kronfeld:

The precision of pain and the blurriness of joy. I'm thinking
how precise people are when they describe their pain in a doctor's office.
Even those who haven't learned to read and write are precise:
'This one's a throbbing pain, that one's a wrenching pain,
this one gnaws, that one burns, this is a sharp pain
and that - a dull one. Right here. Precisely here,
yes, yes.' Joy blurs everything. I've heard people say
after nights of love and feasting, 'It was great,
I was in seventh heaven.' Even the spaceman who floated
in outer space, tethered to a spaceship, could say only, 'Great,
wonderful, I have no words.'
The blurriness of joy and the precision of pain -
I want to describe, with a sharp pain's precision, happiness
and blurry joy. I want to speak among the pains.

1 comment :

  1. That picture project sounds really cool. I've always wished I was a good photographer. I'm so jealous of people who can make beautiful pictures out of everyday objects.