The appeal of windows and doors as fine art photography

Door Lead
(Photo by TC Gamze)

Yesterday I told one of my coworkers at my corporate job that I’m in love with windows and doors as a subject for fine art. To my surprise she shared the same passion and we had an animated discussion about our shared interest.

This got me thinking as to why I, as a moon-lighting photographer, that I’m so drawn to them. Just like love, sometimes it’s hard to put into words why you feel a certain way. You just know that it feels right and you go with it.

My love story with the photography of windows and doors came by accident, like love does sometimes. I certainly wasn’t looking for love.  Sometimes it better not to find love, because it can complicate things and be all consuming.  My love for windows and doors as art is so strong that I sometimes think my life would be simpler had I not taken that one photograph that changed my life.

TheSideDoor - 1
(Photograph by Heather Gordon)

That photograph I took was of a side door to a historic building in Perth, Ontario. There was nothing special about this door that was hidden in shadow and covered in moss.  But it took my breath away.  And made my knees weak.  I knew that when that happened that I had found love.

I’ve tried to explain my strong attachment to these architectural features. I think for me that although they are inanimate, they have the ability to speak about their history, about what they have witnessed.  They are at the mercy to the elements and to human abuse and neglect.  And sometimes their true beauty is only revealed once they have had that exposure.

My life has certainly been complicated by this love. I have had to spend hundreds and hundreds of hours to develop an outlet for it.  It comes in the form of sharing my love of ShareLovewindow and door photography with others in the form of black & white fine art photography prints available online.  I can’t think of a more worthy purpose in life than to be able share one’s love.

Is there one form of art that you feel passionate about? One that makes you feel weak? Please share your love with us …..

 

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Is it time to call City by-law on my neighbour?

Officer

I take great pride in the way I keep my yard.  My neighbour does not.  And I’m thinking about calling the City to enforce my standards on him.  Actually, the City has standards as to how we should keep our yards in the form of by-laws, and I’m thinking it’s time to inform the City to let them know that one of their residents is in violation.

I’ve called City by-law before to let them know when a car has parked in a fire lane, or when the neighbour did significant work in his home without a building permit.  But this recent infraction deals with weeds.  Big weeds.  My next door neighbour has not mowed his lawn since Aug 2015.  It’s now June 2016.

I’m grateful that my neighbour doesn’t fertilize or water his lawn as I do, because the weeds would be worse.  My cat is grateful for the long weeds, as she likes to visit the neighbour’s “meadow” to stalk and pounce.  My biggest issue is not the tall grass and dandelions, but rather with the thistle growing just across the property line that is just as tall as me. While not the world’s tallest thistle, it’s the largest I’ve seen. And it makes me nervous.

ConiferI’ve given the thistle the nickname “The Conifer” because is now the size and shape of a spruce tree.  I’ve even considered putting Christmas balls on it.  That’s a bit cheeky, but I can’t help myself.  There are 3 more thistles in my neighbour’s yard that are between 1 and 3 feet tall, and I know with a week of rain that my neighbour’s backyard will look like a spruce forest.

I’ve tried to look at the positive side of these thistles:  beautiful flowers will bloom, and it does add a bit of greenery to our new neighbourhood that is void of backyard trees.  But at the end of the day these thistles are weeds.  And I am too chicken to tell my neighbour to cut his lawn and cut down his urban forest.  I’m glad I have the City by-law that will hopefully back me up on my standard of what a nice backyard should look like.

GuinessBut on the other, maybe I just tell my neighbour that if he waters and fertilizes his thistle he could be in contention for the Guinness World record for tallest thistle.  Something to think about.

Have you ever had to call the City enforce a by-law due to a neighbour’s property state of disrepair?  What was the result?  Looking forward to hearing your tall tales.

Has black & white photography made a resurgence?

TheWreath - 2

(Photograph by Heather Gordon courtesy of Serramento Galleries)

Walk into any modern public venue or tastefully decorated home you’ll notice a new trend in fine art: black & white photography.  Whether it’s a forest in the morning mist, or the beautiful architecture of a window or door, one feels a strong sense of nostalgia from black and white photography and longing for the past that is not possible with colour print photography.

 A history of black and white photography

ST1998_0282

(Photograph by Dorothea Lange, Tractored Out, Childress County, Texas, 1938; gelatin silver print, 9 15/16 in. x 13 in. (25.24 cm x 33.02 cm);Source: http://www.sfmoma.org/explore/collection/artwork/48332#ixzz4ATcLD1Al San Francisco Museum of Modern Art)

Black and white photography is not new; the world’s first black and white photograph was taken in the late 1820s and became popularized with the upper and middle classes into the 1850’s as a way to record daily life. Black and white photography was the norm for over 100 years until technological advances introduced colour photography where it has remained a staple in our modern world.

Popularization of colour photography

01 Rural Night(Photograph by Heather Gordon)

There is no arguing that colour photography adds a dimension to print photographs that cannot be accomplished in black and white. Advancements in technology and the advent of digital cameras and post-processing software give the professional and amateur shutterbug a creative latitude that couldn’t have been imagined only 25 years ago.

 Re-popularization of black and white print photography

Why then, has black & white photography and more specifically black & white fine art print photography made a resurgence and is a now a popular design choice for today’s personal and public spaces? Perhaps it’s a need to return to the past. Black and white photography certainly gives our modern world a nostalgic feel. Or gives a hint into what our modern world would have looked like 50 years ago.

The lack of colour in black and white photography certainly forces us to see textures and patterns that are over-shadowed by colour. Tones are more easily expressed  and a very different mood is articulated.

What are your thoughts on black & white photography? Do you prefer it over colour?  What feelings does one style leave you with over the other?

5 Reasons why I’m an instant coffee evangelist

Coffee loveI’m always a little nervous when I tell people that I love my instant coffee.  The typical response consists of 2 phases.  The first phase is the facial expression where they look like they don’t know what to say.  The second phase is something verbal like “Realllly?” or “Ewwww” or “You’re kidding” as if I’ve just done something really gross.  It’s very predictable.  Although I’m somewhat apprehensive telling people about my coffee habit, I’m intrigued by the conversation that comes from my revelation.  I think I’m smart to drink instant coffee and I’m interested in discovering why others never caught on to my smart idea.  There’s even some research that has suggested that drinking instant coffee has a number of health benefits.

I’m not against drip coffee and there’s some pretty good stuff out there but I’m not sure I could ever convert from instant coffee. So here is my top 5 reasons why I love my instant coffee

  1. Leaves more room on the counter for other appliances

This is the reason I started drinking instant coffee in the first place as a student.  I just didn’t have room for a coffee maker in my room. And then when I got my own little apartment there was just no room on the counter.  When I grew up and was able to afford a place with a big counter, it just seemed like a coffee maker created a lot of clutter, so the whole coffee maker idea got shelved.

  1. Convenient to travel with

I’m a big coffee lover and the one thing I dislike being subjected to on the road is bad coffee aka weak coffee.  A zip lock with a few tablespoons of dry instant coffee popped into my purse solves the problem.  I just need to be sure that I have access to hot water.

  1. Earth-friendly

Because I always make my own coffee at home I never use a disposable cup.

  1. Make it exactly as you like it

Nescafe

I suppose the same can be said for the home brew variety, but I’ve always found it difficult to appease everyone’s taste with one pot of coffee.  Because each cup of instant coffee is made individually, the weak coffee lovers can be as happy as the strong coffee lovers.  I’m a big fan of strong coffee, and I find my tastes are satisfied with Nescafe Rich.  Just the name says it all.

  1. Budget savvy choice

I’ve done the math and I know that by drinking instant coffee that I can make an additional mortgage payment every year with the savings:  I drink one 20 oz coffee a day (size of a Tim Horton’s large or Starbuck’s Venti) and pay between $0.10 and $0.17 a coffee, depending on what Costco has the Nescafe Rich priced at. That’s a savings of $750 – $850 a year if I just keep on driving by Tim Horton’s and Starbucks

 

So there are my reasons for loving instant coffee. No one reason overrides the other but for me it works.   I would love to know what got you on the same path as me or why there’s no way you would ever join the crusade.

 

Does my walk-in clinic have a lesson to learn?

Doctors officeI finally bit the bullet today and went to the walk-in clinic. My “cold” that showed up five days ago has had me now bedridden for the past two. I’ve been to my neighbourhood walking clinic about a dozen times in the past 10 years and sometimes I wait 5 minutes, and sometimes I wait 2 hours. Today was a day that I was hoping for that 5 minute wait. As
I was getting ready to get to the clinic before the doors opened I kept second guessing that maybe I should wait until a better time during the day when the backlogs were caught up on and lineups would be low. I felt like I was playing the lottery: do I go now, or wait? At this point I was really wishing for some information on my walk-in clinic’s waiting times to help me make a better decision so I could minimize my time in a lineup with other sick people and maximize my time in bed by myself.

I like having information at my fingertips to optimize my decision making. One of my favorite apps GasBuddy lets me find the cheapest gas from my current location. App members enter the price of gas from a given station and that information is shared in real time. I like that. Saves me time, saves me money, and saves me from second guessing that I might be wasting time or money. I got to the walk-in clinic 20 minutes before it opened which put me 6th in line and it took 45 minutes for patient #2 to see a doctor. The math was telling me that I need an app for that. I was wondering if the GasBuddy model could be applied to walk-in clinics: let walk-in clinic users share their waiting times for the benefit of those users that follow soon after. Sounds good in theory, but waiting times are very static, and a high number of user inputs would have to be collected in a short period of time over time for the information to be useful in the short-term. Perhaps more a more feasible application of the data would be to generate more generic statistics such as “clinic with the shortest wait times” or “best day to visit my local clinic”. That’s information I would have used to my benefit today.

I actually waited 2 hours to see a doctor today. I felt like I played the lottery and lost: speculated and found I was wrong. I’m thinking of changing clinics now to one that understands that my time is valuable, especially when I’m sick. Are there stats out there for clinic waiting times? Can I share my experience today for the benefits of others in the future? Is there an app for that? I would love to hear your experiences and comments!

COMM0011 – Blog #1 – I’m not a blogger…yet

I’m an accomplished accountant, spreadsheet guru, technical whiz and lover of all things scientific. Numbers get me excited. Words on the other hand, scare me. Rather, writing words, online, scares me. I nearly failed all high school English classes and swore that I’d never take another course again that required writing. And here I am 25 years after I made that vow, taking a course where I have to write. I’ve subjected myself to some crazy things in my life, but enrolling in this course takes the cake. So why am I doing this? I have to admit, that it’s all about the money.

As I said, I’m an accountant. Numbers, money and the quest for success drive me to a large extent. Three years ago a friend took a look at my photography and suggested that I should sell it and I agreed. And then I realized that I knew nothing about photography, and realized I didn’t have a creative bone in my body. I was still very captivated that I could make money, so I enrolled in a photography certificate program and over the course of many years came to the shocking realization that I did have a creative side….and it was beautiful…and it felt wonderful. I developed a niche and decided that my business model would be online-based. Horror then struck when I realized that my LovePlainAndSimplesuccess would not be founded on how good my product was, but rather on my online content which included blogging. I dug in my heels and was determined that I would do everything that it takes to have a successful online business, but that I wouldn’t blog. It was an intense fear due to the fact that writing was not natural to me even in childhood and I had never given myself the opportunity to develop that creative talent. After many months of trying to convince myself that online content wasn’t required for my success, I finally gave up. I had let the fear of thinking that my poorly developed creative writing side get in the way of being a business success.

And so, I have given in. I am giving myself the privilege to hone a creative side that is still unknown to me by enrolling in this course. This is my first effort in 25 years to write, and yes, it is money motivated. But I do know how wonderful it will feel when I discover that creative side. I look forward to the positively explosive emotions that will come forth when I discover that there was a talent hidden and that I get to share it with the world….and be profitable too!

For more information on a pro blogger’s former fear of blogging please visit http://www.problogger.net/archives/2010/10/11/the-7-deadly-fears-of-blogging-and-how-to-overcome-them/