Sometimes rules are meant to be broken. My normal preference for creating photographs is that I shoot the things I come across in life as they are. I don’t like to pose or stage things within the photo. I want to help us learn to see the beauty we encounter around us if we open our eyes and through that process learn to appreciate and see our world and lives in a new way. I want us to see life as it was intended to by. Having said that, sometimes breaking the rules creates something of beauty and allows us to see something bigger than what we expect.
This series came to be accidentally. I was off to take photos of the Victoria Beach Tower in Laguna Beach. This mysterious tower was built in the 1920’s by the family that owned the home above the beach and was their means of getting down to the beach below. It is iconic, beautiful, and out of place in modern suburban California. The series I intended to capture featuring the tower and the natural ocean was going to show this tower rising majestically next to the natural and draw our attention to the beauty of the surroundings and the ability for humans to create beauty carefully that respects and enhances the natural world. Modern life doesn’t have to destroy our world but can exist responsibly and artfully within our world. As I said this was the great plan when I hopped on the trolley and rode down to Victoria Beach but when you are open to seeing and to perceiving what is going on around you sometimes you get a bigger story than you could expect. This is what happened here.
As I was setting up my camera to shoot and wait for the happy beach goers to move out of frame to capture the tower and beach I noticed two beach goers enjoying the beach in a little cove to the right of the tower with this beautiful red parasol and in an instant I knew I had to capture the tower with the parasol seemingly dropped out of place and time in the foot of this tower. In an instant the series went from what I expected, to a nice abstract series with a pop of strong bold color, and then onto a much bigger conceptual series as I carried the parasol to the base of the tower. As I walked and contemplated where to casually drop the parasol I started thinking about the tower being out of place and time and the parasol being completely different and out of place and time as well. I started to contemplate how do I create a unified composition with these different oddities in front of me and that is when the concept for the series became crystal clear.
I knew then that I needed to create this interesting juxtaposition of east and west that wasn’t bound by time or location to open our thoughts to think about the modern convergence of cultures we are experiencing through globalization and that are echoing the cultural transformation that happened with the rise of the Renaissance. Through the travels of Maro Polo opening the Silk routes and the conquering of the New World by Europe there is often a sense of domination where the West took and used to its benefit not thinking about the changes that they were bringing on those other cultures. There was a lot of negative consequences that came with this imperialism and colonization. Yet in this series I don’t want to beat up western history and civilization but open our eyes to a new way of seeing globalization. We are faced with a chance to work cooperatively West/East First World/Second World to bring all of us up a level and create an equality that allows each culture to thrive and contribute. When we are open to what we each have to contribute and build upon the convergence and growing closeness can be a source of hope, healing and positive transformation. A key we need to see is that we have things we need to learn as much as we have things we can contribute. The path of globalization doesn’t have to be one of imperialism and domination but one of cooperation and collaboration.
To purchase any of the pieces in this series, Ancient/Modern Eastern/Western Red Parasol, they are available as both digital downloads ($1.99 per image) or in printed and framed form individually or collectively in various sizes and options. My standard choice for printing and framing is an 11×14 photograph framed with museum matting and the cost $130 (other options are available but will change the price). If you would like to purchase more than one piece there is a 10% off each piece. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.