Beauty In The Urban Environment

This orange plastic barrier, lying on wet grass, made for a great abstract image when rendered into black and white.

For those of us living in a large city it’s essential, for our own state of mind, to be able to find beauty in the banal. All it takes is a walk outside, in the light, and an open mind.

Finding Beauty in the Banal

We can discover such beauty in shapes, colors, textures or surfaces and also in the juxtaposition (do I get an arts grant for using that word?) between dualities such as contemporary and traditional, natural and man made.

Composition Based Photography

The above image is really a study in light, texture and tonality, though shape and repetition are also important compositional elements within the picture.

It’s a rolled up bundle of plastic, the kind used as a barrier to pedestrians on construction sites. I’ve always found the orange/red color of these barriers to be quite beautiful, though in this case rendering the image into black and white allowed me to remove the structure from its reality and build an image, primary, around its compositional elements.

So, while on one hand, this is a photo of a discarded section of temporary plastic fencing, it’s really a study in composition.

Photography Transcends Reality

When you’re out and about, even on a bleak winter’s day, keep an eye out for beauty and don’t discount the ability of photography to take an otherwise banal subject or scene and make from it something all together quite special. All you need is a keen eye, a mobile phone and, possibly, an app and you’re in the business of making interesting and thought provoking photos.

This is one way by which photography allows us to transcend the usual reality in which we choose to live our lives.

Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru