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NOLA Snapshot: The eye of the beholder

I was strolling home on a cloudy day, photographing the trees and bushes and street signs, when the first sprinkles of rain started coming down. Fearing for my equipment but still wishing to enjoy the weather, I ran beneath a tree and stood, watching the sidewalk darken and shine. As I was standing there I noticed a little fire hydrant standing by itself, right on the dividing line between the wet, exposed cement and the sidewalk sheltered by leaves. I cut down to a shallow depth of field to focus on the hydrant and shot.


(photo: Hanna Rasanen)

This is one of my favorite photos for a number of reasons. I like the soft quality of light, the muted colors and how they give the picture a certain moodiness. I love how the different textures interact: the grit of the dry sidewalk versus the wet sidewalk’s sleek sheen, a willowy stream of rainwater beside the cracked street and patches of grass that break up the concrete. But mostly I love this picture because it an image that is essential to my experience and understanding of New Orleans. I love the crooked sidewalks and the cracked streets, the multicolored houses in the corner. And I love, love, love the rain.

There is an abundance of unexpected beauty in the world. The most interesting thing about it is that pretty much everything is probably seen as beautiful by at least one person, and the beauty they see can be shared and communicated through art, science, literature, and any other means of creation. To me, beauty is a little New Orleans fire hydrant, sitting out under a tree in the rain with me, waiting.


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