Musings on Photography

Figuring things out

Posted in Photo Garden by Paul Butzi on October 15, 2008

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I’ve often written about making photographs being a way, for me, to figure things out. This figuring out happens in very small increments.

Yesterday, working my way through one day’s take, I found the photo above. Note the green edge on the central leaf. I’ve noticed these green edges in a number of photos over the past year, and I’ve been wondering what caused them. It’s not particularly important, I just wondered.

Then I came across the following photo.

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Hmm. Notice how the curve on the green edge matches the (hidden) curve of the leaf below. It even includes the ‘barbs’ on the edge of the leaf below.

My conclusion about all this is that, before, the lower leaf overlapped above the upper leaf, rather than below as in this photo. It was that way for some number of sunny days, then we had a windy spell. And after the wind, the leaves settled into the configuration in the photo above. The green bit we’re looking at is a contact print of the edge of the lower leaf. Aha! How cool is that? What can be more exciting that realizing that the leaves on some of the trees around my home are actually photographs?

I’m not saying this is deep insight, I’m saying it’s very shallow insight. But it does increase the depth at which I view things.

My world has not been rocked by this discovery. It’s one of those discoveries which, in retrospect, seems perfectly obvious. In the scheme of things, it’s a little thing. But little things add up, and I’m better off understanding what’s going on here than I was not knowing. Happier. Better regulated. More content. It pleases me more than I can say to think that, all around me, even as I type, trees near my home are busily making photographic contact prints of themselves.

3 Responses

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  1. Gordon McGregor said, on October 15, 2008 at 9:40 am

    You should search for photosynthetic photographs. With the right sort of masking or light projection, you can use this effect to create images on the leaves.

  2. Kjell Harald said, on October 15, 2008 at 10:48 am

    I once saw, on TV that is, a guy who exposed portraits on the grass in some park. The images remained visible for some days.

  3. Bryan Willman said, on October 16, 2008 at 12:49 pm

    This sort of discovery, and the science behind it, is really important for dispelling superstition and pointless fear.

    It’s akin to the realization that the screaching noises on the roof are crows sliding around, rather than monsters come to eat us. (Unless you have really large crows…)

    Besides, many artists benefit from working in a community of artists. You know have more members in your local community…


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