urban photography

Flagged as Abstract

Far more powerful than religion, far more powerful than money, or even land or violence, are symbols. Symbols are stories. Symbols are pictures, or items, or ideas that represent something else. Human beings attach such meaning and importance to symbols that they can inspire hope, stand in for gods, or convince someone that he or she is dying. These symbols are everywhere around you.
― Lia Habel, Dearly, Departed

I’ve long been fascinated by symbols. I recently looked down and found myself standing on a flag, though it wasn’t one I recognized. For an instant, I thought perhaps I should step back out of respect, but swiftly brushed that thought away: it was already on the ground and heavily trampled upon.

"Flag" [Click the image to enlarge/reduce its size.] Nikon D300, ISO 320, f/1.8 at 1/4000 sec., 85 mm

“Flag” [Click the image to enlarge/reduce its size.] Nikon D300, ISO 320, f/1.8 at 1/4000 sec., 85 mm


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One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star.
– Freiedrich Nietzsche, “Thus Spake Zarathustra”

Nikon D300, ISO 200, 1/30 sec. at f/4, 50 mm

Nikon D300, ISO 200, 1/15 sec. at f/4, 50 mm


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Reflecting At The Royal Eatery

I was waiting to cross the street when I turned around and noticed this gentleman sitting at a window table in a downtown Salt Lake City diner. I liked how the reflection of the tree, car, sidewalk and planter pulled him out of the confines of his diner surroundings and thrust him into the outside world. I also liked the way the metal piece on the rear of the reflected vehicle masked his identity.

I did not like that I was in a rush and had to ignore my sudden craving for a piece of pie and a cup of coffee.

Nikon D300, ISO 200, f/5.6 at 1/60 sec.


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Salt Lake City Street Art

You don’t have to go to a museum to see a city’s art. The works that best represent a particular locale are often, quite literally, right under your feet. I photographed the artwork pictured here within a single downtown Salt Lake City block, representing styles ranging from crude to accomplished.

Simply because these works aren’t hanging in a museum or framed on a wall makes them less likely to get recognized as art. How come a painting on a sidewalk instead of a canvas automatically gets demoted from “art” to “nuisance graffiti” in the minds of the majority?

Like it or not, your city is a canvas. It is a place where seemingly unrelated movements, elements, shapes and colors come together to form a tangible image – a picture of its inhabitants. Some choose to add to this canvas knowing that their contribution will be as transient and temporary as the inhabitants are themselves.

Nikon D300, ISO 200, f/22 at 1/60 sec, 78 mm

Nikon D300, ISO 200, f/20 at 1/40 sec, 98mm

Nikon D300, ISO 200, f/14 at 1/60 sec, 30 mm


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Downtown Contrast

Downtown Salt Lake City has undergone some major reconstruction efforts in the last few years. The newer buildings form a stark contrast between the city’s older structures. Many of the latter have fallen into disuse or are awaiting demolition to make way for more “improvements”.

As I walked along the downtown streets the other day, I came upon what I felt was a striking illustration and visual perspective of the transience of our environment – both natural and manufactured. It caused me to reflect on how we tend to celebrate the death of our past, despite what we lose in the process.

Nikon D300, ISO 200, f/18 at 1/160 sec, 38 mm


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