Friday, November 11, 2011

Hardened Master

Locked gate on Westheimer, shot the night of the Annual Zombie Walk
It is always interesting to see your photographs through the eyes of others. This morning Rev. Mark S commented on the above photograph. "I like this a lot Gary. The contrast of the moss on the chain with the overall tone of the rest of the picture grabs my attention. I am also struck by the words on the back of the lock, "Hardened Master."

Mark was a part of the now defunct GW Photography Discussion Blog and we still keep up with each other through the Flickr posts. I was aware of the writing on the back of the lock, just had never put them together in the way that Mark has. I of course saw the lock very literally. Knowing the location of the gate and societies current disrespect of personal property, I saw it as preventing entry, as a matter of protection. Mark's comment prompts a consideration of whether it is to prevent entry or escape, an interesting and totally new meaning for the photograph. I think there is a sermon in there someplace.


The rest of the story:
Original SOOC, first shot
When I first saw the lock I knew I was not going to like the background. I shot this frame then I moved to the side so that none of the blue in the background was showing. These two photographs were shot within seconds of each other. There were no changes made to the camera settings, yet the fence is gray in one and rust in the other. I like the second photograph but not nearly as much as the first. In post I simply desaturated the blue. I could probably crop out an image from the second shot that I like, I do like the colors but I think the grays in the original shot are closer to what I wanted to say with the photograph. I think they are more appropriate than the warm colors of the second shot and that they are more in keeping with the added meaning that Mark’s comment suggests.


  1. I like it a lot too, Gary. With or without the words, although the words do add an interesting element. I just like it for it's simplicity, the 3 basic colors and the texture of the old chain's peeling paint (?)

    Thanks for posting.


    the above link is to a chained gate of mine from a while ago. I couldn't help but to wonder had i handled the composition as you, would it say what I wanted and that was Locked out, abandon, useless space, do not enter all feelings of learning to get pass a childhood that was as stated. BUT FOR THE RECORD, I was loved, fed and cared for, but growing up in a dysfunctional household created within the feeling of abandonment...

    Nice shot Gary.

  3. Jan, Paul, than you. I have added the SOOC and the rest of the story to the blog post.

    Paul, I remember your Abandonment Gate photograph. It is very well done and I can see the connotation you are reading into the photograph. There is much interesting about this photograph. The door and doorway with their peeling paint are obviously old, the door torn from its hinges leaving the entryway open is like an open wound that likely will not ever heal, at least until someone reattaches the door. Even more interesting is the relatively new locks on the gate that would suggest that this is something that has been locked away only recently except for the rusty chain, so it seems something that is or has been visited and once again locked away. You have done an interesting job of using frames within the frame—over all an extremely well done photograph that is very much a metaphor of the life you describe. It is not so much abandonment that you return to, it is the wound from the abandonment.

  4. You have always had a way with langauge but this last post is like icing on the cake and only a few days from my birthday. Or either you or I or both of us are learning to speak and hear a new langauge; the langauge of the photographer and their art. Thank you David DuChemin.

    Yes it is a wound that is slowly healing now.

    Thank you Gary.