The Wonder in the Mundane

I’ve continued my investigations into the gutters of my neighborhood and beyond and found more wonders that usually go unnoticed. I’m not sure how long this will last though. I like looking down to the small things around me but sometimes you have to look up and notice the larger world around you.

The trick is to see it all and not neglect any one part. Of course, I’m much more comfortable droning through life not noticing anything around me. But comfort is boring and doesn’t help you grow. I have to constantly fight the tendency to shut off the thinking part of my brain.

That’s one of the benefits of conciously looking for the minutae around you; finding the wonder in the mundane; enriching your life with the world that’s actually around you that your brain often filters out as unnecessary. So for now I’ll keep looking to the gutter as a way of lifting myself above complacency.

Avoiding a Desaturated Life

There really isn’t much color most of the places you go to. What color you do find usually isn’t well placed or interesting and you often have to search for it. Or it’s muted and not very vibrant. You might be able to see more color when you’re downtown but that’s because people are trying to sell you something so they try to shock your senses and get you to say wow, that stands out so I should buy it. But in the suburbs you just don’t find any people willing to do more than a red plastic bird feeder or a yellow “Pesticides have been applied to the lawn” stake.

I noticed on my walk today that most of the world around is made up primarily of neutral colors. The houses are whites, gray, and browns. The majority of cars on the road seem white, black or gray. When you do see a lot of colors all in one place they tend to look ugly because people haven’t thought about complimentary colors or how the colors are composed together.

Maybe that’s why so many people are into over saturating their photos on Instagram or doing HDR photography on Flickr. They want to pull out what little color they can find and show it to the world.

Now, I do have to admit, today was a cloudy, rainy day in my part of the world. And, it’s still winter so things probably seem more muted and dull to me. Thankfully, Spring is just around the corner and life is starting to spring up around us now that the weather is warming slightly. But right now, you really have to work at it to see it. Here’s a street corner I passed by the other day:

It would have been very easy to just pass by this scene and disregard it. But I stopped because I knew that in most places, if you come in just a little closer you can find some pretty amazing things. Sure enough, as I got down to ground level I was able to discover this:

This is just to show that even though the world around might look colorless, if you change perspective, and prioritize mindfuln of your surroundings, you can find beauty almost anywhere.

Photographing in the Gutter

Yesterday and today I’ve taken to the streets and its gutters to see if there are any worthy subjects to photograph. It turns out, there are plenty of things that wash up against the curb. You really have to pay attention to the world around you to notice all that it has to offer.

Most people never consider the beauty of the small and insignificant things all around us. I certainly never thought that the accumulation of street refuse could be as interesting as I’ve recently discovered it can be.

This being the rainy season, most of the gutter subjects were wet when I photographed them. This really makes the color look deep and rich. It also helps to accumulate items together faster and makes new combinations that you might not otherwise see.

Crushede, rusty can in the street
Bug eaten leaf in the street