Friday, February 19, 2010

Monday Mystery Photo 2: Answer & Challenge

One person guessed that our Monday Mystery Photo was my refrigerator. That's a pretty good guess!

But, it's actually...a gum ball machine!

I had a nice little tutorial planned to go along with this week's Monday Mystery Photo, but my daughter is home sick with a fever again, so I'm going to limit my computer time today.

Basically, my goal was to get you all to start thinking about "the picture within the picture". Challenge yourselves to start looking beyond what you initially see in an image. Look for patterns, textures, designs, and individual components that create an abstract piece of art in and of themselves.

That will have to be a tutorial for another time. For now, I'll just tell you the history behind this particular image.

This picture was taken during Terry Wier's Learning to See Creatively class. I've mentioned on this blog in the past that Terry had given us the assignment of taking 1000 pictures in one week. We were not to worry about framing (or even focusing) the picture correctly. He just wanted us to snap the shutter at our very first impulse. Terry didn't even want us to look through the view finder (Gasp!).

Throughout the week, whenever I saw something that sparked my interest, I took a picture of it. I carried my camera with me everywhere - the tree farm, the grocery store, Home Depot, and even Cafe Brazil (where these images were taken). I got some pretty fun shots - not to mention some pretty funny looks from random strangers. It definitely brought me out of my comfort zone. That's for sure.

By doing this assignment, Terry said we would get a pretty clear "picture" of what it is we are passionate about. He was right. This picture is a perfect example. Though you can't see my son in this image, what you do see is what I discovered I'm drawn to: Color and Texture.

I love how the light is bouncing around the glass of the gumball machine and how the colored balls play so beautifully off the blue painted walls in the background. I love the shiny silver handles and the repeating patterns. I even love the symbolism of the gumball machine itself: Simple Pleasures. (Every time I see a gumball machine I can't help but think about the joy a child gets from dropping in a quarter to collect their prize. It brings to mind the many times I begged my mom for a chance at that very same joy when I was younger.)

It spoke of childhood fun and energy to me - and surprisingly, so did many of the other shots I took that week. Like this one of a little girl skipping through the Walmart parking lot with her mommy...

Looking back. That was really fun (once I got over the fact that I wasn't allowed to focus or look into the view finder, that is). I'm thinking I should do this again real soon...

So, what did I learn about myself from that assignment the first time around? I learned that though I tend to be a very deep/intense person, I do have this colorful side of me that loves vibrancy, laughter, free-spiritedness, and variety. It just takes the right people to draw it out of me, I guess. Either that...or a gumball machine.

I wonder, if you tried this for yourselves (1000 pictures in one week), what you'd learn about yourselves?

Try it, and let me know!


  1. Wow, these are fantastic shots! We love it that you used our restaurant in such an interesting way. We published your blog post on our Facebook Fan page to show others your talents. Hope to see you back soon!

  2. Thanks for the nice comments, Cafe Brazil. Now I'm wishing I had posted the other pics I took at your restaurant that day of the yummy pigs in a blanket my son at that day. I'll have to check out your facebook page.


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