Monday, September 1, 2014

Image of the Month: September 2014

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,
it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness,
it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity,
it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness,
it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair
we had everything before us, we had nothing before us...

These famous lines from the opening of A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens succinctly describes the recent "flood of the century" in my neighborhood.  Although certainly not the scale of Katrina or Sandy, the wrath of Mother Nature destroyed over 75% of the homes in it's path of unprecedented raging storm releasing raw sewage to waist height and beyond.  

...worst of times
......epoch of incredulity
........season of darkness

These are just a few of the key words from that famous quote that stand out.  But in dealing with the disaster I experienced humankind at its finest.  The sense of camaraderie and community was refreshing, encouraging, and the epitome of neighborly assistance reached new meaning when rescue teams from several states rode into town to save the day.  

@2014, Joanne Scherf

While this is indeed an Image of the Month post, it has relevance to the storm's damage.  Taking a break from my clean-up chores, I went for a walk along my usual route in the neighborhood to canvas the overall scene of destruction.  Views of homes from the street were blocked by 5 and 6 foot piles of trash; a collection of memorabilia, collections, clutter and just pure junk that filled storage spaces, long neglected and yet overlooked as potential contributions for weekly trash days.  This mandatory purging ultimately resulted in over 2300 tons of garbage curbside for pick-up, when only 30 tons was the weekly norm.

This image of the month is actually an image of trash, in this case piles of books, randomly scattered on a front lawn.  The potential of the image caught my eye for several reasons.  
  • The potential of art surrounds us even in our mundane, everyday lives.  In local environments such as one's neighborhood, there's opportunity everywhere.
  • The random piling of books scattered at the base of a tree's trunk made me think this was somehow a translation of a tree of knowledge.  It appeared as if the books were fallen leaves, scattered at whim
In my interpretation I wanted to demonstrate the innate beauty while at the same time convey the ruins by highlighting the destruction and warping of the books by special effects of texture.  Cropping from the original image also allowed me to focus on the mass selection of books and just a hint of the tree's trunk at the top of the image.  This composition was intended to focus on the books while perhaps providing a sense of mystery as to the tree and overall scene, an almost ethereal and surreal view of storm damage.
.............everything before us