flâneur

Captioning The Absurd

While doing some street/flâneur photography in downtown Salt Lake City on Wednesday, I came across one of those scenes a fan of street photography lives for: the random public display of the unusual and/or absurd. Sometimes you come across these things, and it’s really obvious what they are about – and thus how they could be or will be titled or captioned. But occasionally, you just can’t put the pieces together in a way that tells a plausible story, so you ditch the plausible and let your imagination take a carefree romp in an arena probably better suited to Tim Burton or David Lynch.

I thought it would be fun to enlist your aid in coming up with a caption for the photograph that resulted from Wednesday’s find. Please leave your suggestion in the Comments area below. You will receive an email voucher for a free handmade, 100% cotton photo greeting card of your choosing from my online shop if I really like what you come up with.

“…the concept of absurdity is something I’m attracted to.”
David Lynch

I'm with you, David.

Lines Through The City

I was fully intending to capture some interesting shadows for today’s shoot, and so headed downtown mid-morning to wander about and experience my surroundings. I had only walked about a block from where I’d parked the car when I found myself pre-visualizing a shot that had no shadows in it at all, but rather a lot of lines and reflections. It was only a few minutes after capturing that shot, when I realized I was mid-composition on another shot that seemed to focus much more on lines than it did on shadows.

An hour later, while consuming one of the best baked tofu sandwiches ever concocted at Carlucci’s Deli, it dawned on me: I had completely abandoned all thought of shadows! My camera was only tuned in to the lines that shape and define my city.

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Empty Strength

"Empty Strength"

When I saw this, it made me think of how some people choose to go through life: they are strong as steel on the outside though empty, hollow and black on the inside. Thus they have a heavy reliance on some form of fake, easily cracked outer covering so that they may appear as something other than what they are.

Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and all the folks in the Westboro cult* immediately come to mind.

* I refuse to refer to the Westboro cult using the term “Baptist Church” out of respect for Baptists. I prefer instead to call it what it is.

Fun with Flâneur Photography

The term flâneur stems from a French masculine noun, and conveys the idea of one who strolls or wanders. According to Wikipedia, it was Charles Baudelaire who attached to it the derived meaning of “one who walks … to experience…”. That accurately sums up how I spent an hour-and-a-half and 300+ shutter clicks early this morning in Liberty Park. [Because I was bracketing my exposures +/-, this represents about 100 unique photos.]

What became clear was despite the fact I’ve been to Liberty Park many times over the years I’ve been doing time in Salt Lake City, I have never experienced it until this morning. Arriving early, there were few people around, and those that were around were either jogging or being walked by their canine companions. Most notably, there were no kids. No kids meant no screaming. No screaming meant quiet, tranquility, and the opportunity to listen to nature (though augmented by the white noise of the morning rush hour traffic on 700 East). In a word, “glorious!”

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The locked Ferris wheel gate protects a popular summer attraction for kids

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Love this door handle on the Chase Home Museum of Utah Folk Art

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A rather creative use of the city's leftover pipe works as armrests on a very hard bench!

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Someone left their bikes out in the rain... Oh well, at least it wasn't a cake! (Queue the Donna Summer disco track...)

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I really liked the way the rain had formed droplets on this plant.

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Does this qualify as an example of leading lines composition?

Possibly my favorite takeaway from the morning's efforts!

Cool bike stands outside the Tracy Aviary

The skeleton of the Ferris wheel against the rising sun; the rest is still in winter hibernation

I think my next flâneur outing is going to be downtown on an early Sunday morning, when our city has rolled up the sidewalks. I have no doubt that what I haven’t taken the opportunity to experience before will amaze me.