Ground Suite

Not a group of offices on the first floor,

but a series of photographs honoring

what’s at our feet.

Attending to these small corners of our lives

expands our sense of the possible.

The vast,

open-dimensioned

here

is as interesting as a waterfall in Iceland,

big game in Kenya,

or a painting at the Louvre. Our ever-curious eyes,

unhindered

by agendas,

encounter form, color, texture, pattern, the relationship between light and dark,

these delights of our earthly life,

right here

on the ground.

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

7.

8.

9.

10.

11.

12.

13.

14.

15.

16.

17.

18.

Notes:

1. After the rain, next to a field of corn.

2. A drain and old stone flooring at a local nursery.

3. Apple blossom petals fall onto last year’s leaves at a botanic garden.

4. Seaweed caught by a rock at a beach in northern California.

5. Colored reflections on the pavement at the Gehry-designed Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle.

6. Electrical cables on the floor of an old auto repair shop in a small town in northern California.

7. The State Hotel sign still says 75 cent rooms in Seattle Pioneer Square.

8. A dropped rubber glove in an alley in Seattle.

9. A strand of eelgrass at a beach on Whidbey Island, Washington.

10. A feather has laid on the trail on Fidalgo Island for a while.

11. Puddles capture reflections after rain.

12. An orange lies forgotten on a sidewalk in Los Angeles.

13. Roots and pine needles at a city park in Anacortes, Washington.

14. Broken glass litters the floor of an abandoned industrial greenhouse in Yonkers, New York.

15. Shadows from a cast iron table and chair at a park in Bremerton, Washington.

16. An old rag maybe, discarded at a working pier in Anacortes.

17. Fallen magnolia leaves and seed pods on a sidewalk in Goldsboro, North Carolina.

18. An art gallery floor in Edison, Washington. And my feet.


78 comments

  1. “ is as interesting as a waterfall in Iceland,

    big game in Kenya,

    or a painting at the Louvre”

    Love this sentiment! I’ve always felt that the best photography shows the mundane in a new way that makes one see differently as opposed to traveling to far away and exotic places. Much more difficult to show the beauty in the mundane than in the exotic. It’s the way I think about it anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve also always thought that opening someone to a new way of seeing is the most vital function of art. I know what you mean about the exotic. I think it’s also true that it can be difficult to do anything new – to bring about that new way of seeing in the viewer – with the exotic, dramatic scenes that many people go after. The thrill can get in the way of doing something original with the subject. Thanks for contributing to the discussion, Howard, I appreciate it.

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  2. You point out a saving grace for photographers: we needn’t travel to spectacular places to find worthy subjects for our art. Michigan’s motto is “Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam circumspice,” “If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look around you.” The same idea holds in general. I’ll grant you, though, that it sure is exciting to go to great places.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is terrific, Lynn! Excellent title, too. Finding vast worlds in neglected corners. And you found fascinating patterns, like the abstract geometric shapes in the #14 glass shards, and the beautiful purple feathers and pictographs projected onto the pavement in #5.
    And fun! #4 rocks! I like to see stoners going for the full Ozzy Osbourne look, #8 the random yellow glove, which just makes me laugh for unknown reasons.
    #3 I realized how conditioned I am by my current city, when at first glance, I thought the apple blossoms were some sort of hail or sleet. #17 is such an appealing advertisement for magnolias, people will probably recreate this assemblage on their entryway tables.
    And my favorite, the nursery shot with all the complex angles, diamonds, circles, in the fancy iron grate, and the more subtle patterns in the floor tiles. Great album.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Number 4 made me laugh too, more so when I worked on the processing – it was one among many fascinating things on the beaches in northern California, where we took a road trip last week. It was Humboldt County, famous for growing cannabis, so you’re right on track with the “stoners.” I bet you’d love the geology there – amazing cliffs and rocks! #17 was not rearranged as far as I can remember. Sometimes things just arrange themselves in the best way, don’t they? So glad you enjoyed the visuals (and the title, good!), Robert!

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    • The backstory for #17 is interesting if you have a minute. I found a wonderful old abandoned greenhouse/industrial complex north of New York City, and I would go there to pick flowers in the fallow field that still held remnants of past plantings when I lived nearby in the early 1980’s. A few years later I learned that my father’s first job was at that very place, 45 years earlier. It was a summer job when he was a high school kid in Brooklyn. He must have taken several buses to get there but he remembered the place fondly. It was a research facility. I happened to mention the place to him and was amazed that our paths had crossed in this odd way, after our family had moved many times, etc. The company is still an active research institute in Ithaca and the site where this photo was taken was restored. It now houses medical facilities and restaurants. I took the photo above a few years before the restoration when still I lived in NYC. That was long-winded, maybe I should do a post about it! 😉 Thanks, Michael.

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  4. Love, love, love what catches your eye! Such a delightful selection. Though I’m not quite as enthralled with the discarded glove. It’s a bit jarring to say the least, but interesting that you didn’t shy from it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I loved seeing that glove – it had stories to tell. If I saw it now I would adjust the exposure better and it might appear a little less jarring, a little more mysterious – but it was years ago. In any case, you still might find it annoying, which is fine! 😉 I’m glad you liked the idea, thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Perhaps I didn’t care for the story the glove might have told… for me it brought some horrific memories of cleaning ovens and other appliances after a renter trashed a place. 😦 Funny how we weave these associations, isn’t it? 😉

        Liked by 1 person

        • It is – and it’s interesting that we photographers remember what we thought and felt when we took the photograph, which can be totally lost on the viewer. So many stories….

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    • I’m glad to hear it, Louis – it’s fun to do posts that have more of a concept-based theme instead of being about a place. That being said, there’s no question that I’ll continue posting about specific places. Have a nice weekend – enjoy that gorgeous garden of yours.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Génial, je suis heureux … comme je l’ai dit plus haut à Louis, j’aime faire un post qui parle plutôt d’un concept parfois, au lieu d’un post concernant un lieu spécifique. je continuerai à faire les deux. vous sourit aussi!

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  5. A woman after my own heart…these are brilliant, Lynn. What a fabulous collection of found art.
    One of my favorite activities as I wander SF. I really can’t pick a favorite– they are all thoughtfully composed capturing interesting lines, patterns, textures and . The seaweed on the rock made me laugh, if I had shot that, it would be a self-portrait. 😄And your introduction is beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I remember you’ve done lots of photographs of things seen on the ground, too, so I’m glad you like these, Jane. Cities are good places to look for interesting things at your feet, and I don’t get to cities as often now so some of these are older photographs. I like the idea of the seaweed shot as a self-portrait, hey, why not? 😉 So happy you mentioned the introduction too, thanks, Jane.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Yes, ALWAYS good to look down (as well as all around and about of course!). The two that really get to me here are 4 and 5 – ohhhh!!!! And I also like 2, 8, 9, 12, 13, 17 >>> and as a footnote (sorry!) your feet!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • A footnote, well, someone had to say it…. 🙂
      #5 is thanks to Gehry, who created a skin for that building that does amazing things in the sunlight. How nice that you mention so many photos – thanks, Adrian! We will keep looking, up, down, and all around.

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  7. I just love your look on the details that surround us :-)!!! And I like your poetical introduction! Everything can be beautiful if we just look at it You are so right about that! I love the “hairy guy” in nr. 4, really funny 🙂 And of course I like all the other pictures with structures and patterns, everything! It is just your magnificent look / sight(?) that makes even the not so interesting objects exciting! The things in nr. 6, 8 and 16 seem to be plain objects, but your images made them fascinating!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are too kind, thank you very much. I’ve always been “accused” of seeing the world a little differently. 🙂 Regarding #6, seeing the floor of the old auto repair shop as art comes from being in art school in New York in the early 70’s, when minimalist art was huge and everyone was questioning just what is art. It was a wonderful experience and it really goes deep. With #16, the sun was setting and made that trash look great, but I had just stepped out of an annual art show that is held in an old building on the pier, so I was primed to see art everywhere. I’m glad you enjoyed this, Almuth!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Accused, haha! I agree with that 🙂 I know what you mean seeing art everywhere! When I have been out with my sketching class I see motives everywhere afterwards. Nevertheless you chose it and made more art out of it 🙂 – That must have been a very creative time and you have a good feeling for it. I am glad you took that in 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • I’m glad too – it was a great experience, though it came at a time when New York City was at its dirtiest and most dangerous in many years, and chaos ruled the streets. But if I think about it, just about every experience I’ve had in education after high school has been really great.

          Liked by 1 person

        • It sounds really good, if you can say that! And often beauty or invention or creativity is born out of the chaos, the dirt, the ugly – whatever. If you live sweet and cosy inspiration will probably take a different way. It is not bad to get to know the other side of life right. Contrasts can be very inspiring.

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  8. I’m so far behind in my comments on your blog. I want to say something pithy and meaningful about all your photos, but if were to wait until the muse visits, you’ll never hear from me. So here go some mundane offerings. This is an interesting collection of photographs; I like how you have tied them all together (with a poem even!) with the concept of the ground. I have loved the look of cracked mud since I was a young child and saw one of my father’s photographs of cracked mud. Yours is quite special for the white bits. Do you know what they are? Or is it puddled rain reflecting an overcast sky? It really doesn’t matter; the formal elements are all that count. Number 4 is fun; I especially appreciate the color and tonal contrasts—and the rakish angle of the hair. It’s the formal elements that the reflected light produces getting me in #5—and that fuschia color. You found some terrific hoses in poses playing with circles and rectangles in #6! You knew I would go for this one. In #9 it almost looks like the grass has drawn the lines in the sand. Nice. I like #15 not only for the designs (one positive look, one negative look) of the chairs or tables, but also for the creative way you have made the shapes occupy the picture plane. (I think the word I mean is “picture plane” . . . ) The metal plate on the floor in #18 is a beaut. And it’s good to see your shoes again. I like how you show them from time to time, and putting this photo last emphasizes the theme of the ground. Another great collection, Lynn!

    Liked by 1 person

    • In a reply to Dave Ply, above, I told him to look you up as master of making the mundane look good. 🙂 No need to make pithy comments every time – just tell me you’re there, you looked, maybe you liked, and that’s good. A longer reflection once in a while is nice but not if it keeps you from commenting at all. I’ve been using “ground” as a LR keyword for a while now and that helps me think about how certain images might work together.
      I have no idea what the white “stuff” was but I wonder if it was some sort of agricultural runoff. Could be. That old auto repair shop in #6 was the coolest place to see – I was so grateful that the men let Joe and I wander around inside a bit. Can you imagine the fun you could have there after hours? 🙂 The strand of eelgrass DID have a hand in that sand pattern, though obviously, it didn’t create the whole thing. Oh, the pleasures of low tide! Funny you’ve noticed my feet play a cameo role once in a while – now that you’ve mentioned it, I believe that will be a “thing.” Have a good week, Linda!

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      • Thanks for the mention, Lynn. It seems that any environment with a lot of tools is ripe for photographing, and I’m sure I would have gone wild in the auto-repair shop. When I’m in Florida I don’t check to see how the tides are running before I go out, but I’m always thrilled when they are low. Florida—at least in Sarasota County—doesn’t have as much to offer at low tide as other places, but you never know what you might find. Looking forward to seeing more of your feet. (Ha-ha; you can take that two ways.)

        Liked by 1 person

  9. “Right here on the ground”, as you say, the little things come in honor, in your thoughtful, beautiful text as well as in the extraordinary photos, dear Lynn.
    That you publish a plea for the beauties at home immediately after your return from a photo tour, I find remarkable – one would rather expect a report on the distant, spectacular sights (that may come too), but you’re not like that.
    I am particularly pleased with picture no. 15, in which the shadows mix artfully and meaningfully with the same reality. And no.16, silent dialogue between two opposing materials, kindly illuminated by the sun.
    In a soft, very limited color palette your pictures come along, wonderful earth tones, also black and white, sparingly fanned by muted color spots. This is very fitting, I think, and ends perfectly with your feet as the final point.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The beauty is all around us, isn’t it? You point out the mixing of shadows and reality in #15 – that’s something I have been intrigued by for years. Any time a reflection or shadow or some such phenomenon begins to trade places with the real object, I’m fascinated. The palette was not intentional but as I chose photos to include (thank god for keywords!) so many were in the same color range that I decided not to include any photos that are bright or colorful. I really appreciate how observant and thoughtful you are, thank you so much.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Wonderful self-assignment and collection. There’s a famous photographer who did a lot of looking down … Harry Callahan. He was part of the Group f.64. I learned about him through an exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art that my photography professor assigned to us and bought his book there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m familiar with Harry Callahan, but as familiar as I should be, so thank you for pointing that out. A google image search makes me think it would be a good idea to have a book of his work around the house.

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  11. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen dried mud like in that first image, which made me reach farrrrrrrrrr back to retrieve childhood memories and the joy of lifting each dried puzzle piece and marvel at the wonders of mud! I pondered ‘why haven’t I seen mud like that here?’ and realize that it’s either rocky volcanic or very sandy, or if the earth has lots of clay, it’s usually in the cloud forest where it is never parched enough to dry the soil. The areas that dry out on sunny days are sandy ones. Hmmm, I’m going to start looking for cracked earth!

    The seaweed on the rock makes an easy opportunity to scrawl a happy face with a few pebbles!

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is SO interesting, Lisa. It makes sense. These details that we don’t think of….
      I feel so bad about not getting to your blog lately – I will soon! There have been some crazy things going on here that have taken my attention away.

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