Sunday, September 27, 2009

Geraniums, Nolay

The quiet French village of Nolay is in Burgundy. Stone and timber houses lean slightly towards each other, like elderly aunts and uncles. I was enchanted by this house, with its profusion of geraniums. Trendy florists and garden designers might consider geraniums to be unfashionable and unimaginative. But this is a perfect example of how a massing of any humble object---geraniums, buttons, shells---can make an impressive design statement. As an American, I also recognize this scene as being quintessentially European. You can, at least in part, thank the geraniums for that.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Brooklyn botanic Gardens

The Brooklyn Botanic Gardens are a calm green respite just a subway ride from Manhattan. This has been an odd summer, with recent rains not quite making up for many hot dry weeks. As we walked along the paths, rusty and yellowed leaves drifted down around us, an early reminder that we are on the cusp of autumn. I love this allee of stately old trees. Their even spacing creates an inviting rhythm of repeating vertical lines. Looking at this picture makes me want to walk right into it and follow the trees to discover what might be at the end of the path.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


I took this picture of meadow and sky early one morning before the mist had completely lifted. It is the simplest of compositions, really just two shapes and some delicate vertical lines. I like that there is not much color. Because of this, I keep looking at the variety within the grasses and flowers. It may seem something of a stretch, but in this scene I see some of the same elements that appeal to me in Mark Rothko's work. His paintings seem very simple, often just one or two rectangles floating on a field of color. The edges of his shapes are somewhat ambiguous. They feather out into the background, like mist. When you look closer at his big shapes, they reveal themselves as having many subtle layers of color and texture, worthy of study and meditation. Like at a field of summer grasses and flowers.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Washington Square Fountain

What do you do on a very hot day in Manhattan? Some people gather around the fountain in Washington Square Park. Most sit on the edge and enjoy the cooling spray, but some venture into the fountain itself. Toddlers slide off the edge and stand right next to their mothers, slapping the surface of the water around their knees and laughing as it splashes. Twelve-year-old boys venture right to the center and allow the geysers to pour over them. Every so often, they jump into the quieter waters, gasping for air. This picture could be any time in any city. Cities can be full of clashing, distracting colors, so I often shoot in black and white.