Sunday, June 15, 2008

Eleven Photographer's in a Junkyard

I used to call them Woodard's philosophies but I repeat them so often that I think I like Woodard's platitudes better.

"Every photograph tells two stories; one about the subject and one about the photographer. Sometimes the story about the photographer is the stronger of the two."

Yesterday there was a very good illustration of that platitude. The NWHPC had a field trip to a junkyard. Lots of photographs were taken. Eleven of the photographers have posted some of their images to various posting sites. I am making the assumption they made more but these were the ones they most related to, enjoyed the most, were willing to share.

Eleven photographers in the same junk yard and almost every photographer's set is distinguishably different from the others. Sure there are a number of very similar images of the more photogenic relics, but even they are approached differently. It is really interesting to see a number of photographers approach the same subject matter under the same conditions and to observe the differences in their work. This is especially true in a situation like the junkyard that presented a wide variety of possible subject matter.

Of course, in a photo club there are varying degrees ot technical skill, but for the most part that is not what distinguishes the photographs for me. What is especially interesting is to look at what each photographer shot that the others did not, their selection of the available subject material, and to speculate why.

Some shot flowers in a junkyard, some shot the contrast between the flowers and the wrecked vehicles. Some did only close-ups, some only long shots, some found organization some found chaos. It is amazing how many subjects showed up in only one set. Some shot other photographers, one shot the personnel, some included no people and there were a couple of ghost like people images. Only one did monochrome conversions.

Each set was very personalized. You have to assume that each set is representative of what that particular photographer saw and found of interest and thus to at least some degree can be taken as a self expression of that particular photographer.

Here is a list of the participating photographers with links to the images: Aaraj Thyagaraj, Alan Wilson, April Ferguson, , Bear Carlson, Darnell Klumpp, Debbie Henderson, Jerry Klumpp, Jerry Pierson, John Edinburgh, Larry Belt, Pam Carlson.

Addendum: Thanks to John Edinburgh for a heads up on my errors on the above links. Also a big apology to April for renaming her at this stage of life. Thanks to John that is also corrected..


  1. You really have a way with words.. I really liked your interpretation of the photo's for the day. I think this ended up being my favorite field trip with the club so far. I really was hesitant about going on this one as to me it was just "JUNK" and I kept just going thru my head what do I shoot? But I think this ended up being a really good learning experience for me in the end!

  2. Debbie, I am pleased you enjoyed the junk yard trip. It was one that I had been looking forward to for months.

    There are several "themes," one of which several of the photographers took advantage of, distressed icons. The most notable being the grill of the old Buick and the Cadillac emblem and tail lights. Icons are so strong in our experience that they almost always make interesting subjects especially in the context of the junkyard.

    Rust patterns, one that you made several shots of, always an interesting subject. It's part of my randomness kick and if you have not heard the randomness speech, hang around, you'll hear it often. Randomness is design outside of conscious control, or spontaneity of design. I love randomness.

    One of my favorites and there were several attempts made, is new growth over taking rusting hulks. There were no really strong images taken on this theme possibly because the strong subject matter may not have been available. The strongest that I recall was one of John's shots of the Cadillac where it looks like he laid on the ground. Actually that was one of the strongest images of the shoot from those posted.

    Junkyards provide a wealth and variety of subject matter as those that attended found out.