Aesthetic Emergency

Weathered shed.

If you spend enough time with me, sooner or later I’m going to interrupt you in mid-sentence (as politely as I can manage), beg your pardon, and dash off to photograph something I’ve just seen in the immediate vicinity.

If I’ve known you a long time and/or we are particularly close, I may ask you to pull the car over or turn it around if I spot something as we zip by at highway speeds. Early in our relationship, Bob and I were driving on an interstate when I spotted some particularly spectacular atmospheric effects I wished to capture, but there were signs specifically prohibiting pulling over onto the essentially non-existent shoulder. “But officer,” Bob proposed as a suitable explanation, “it was an aesthetic emergency.”

This has become something of a catchphrase between us—one which could easily become overused if not applied judiciously.

Anyway… last night as we were heading into Greer, SC, I spotted something through Bob’s (driver-side) window that prompted me to ask him to turn around and go back. I declared an aesthetic emergency.

A few moments later, I popped out of the car and took the picture posted above of a weathered shed. I made exactly 4 exposures, framing tighter and tighter as I walked closer, and then hopped back in the car and we burned rubber heading out.

Here are a couple of software manipulated alternatives:

Dilapidated shed altered in Snapseed.

Dilapidated shed altered in Brushstroke.

I’d be curious to know which of the three you find most successful.

Myself, I’m not especially thrilled with any of them. It may be that one of the other frames will prove more satisfactory.

[Update: I made a monochrome version, which I like best. Sometimes you gotta go classic.]

Black & white image of wooden shed.


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3 Responses to Aesthetic Emergency
  1. Robert Woolley
    May 4, 2014 | 7:27 pm

    My recollection is that the coining was yours. I pointed out the signs saying stopping was allowed only in the case of emergency, and you replied that it was an “aesthetic emergency.”

    In the sci-fi novel “Lovelock” by Orson Scott Card and Kathryn Kidd, people have with them at all times “witness” animals–e.g., a Capuchin monkey with genetically and electronically enhanced memory, so that any life event could be played back with perfect fidelity. I think we need that.

  2. Dave Memphis MOJO
    May 4, 2014 | 8:16 pm

    Poetic license.

  3. Fr William Blazek
    May 8, 2014 | 8:08 am

    since you ask: the one you chose to post is the most gentle and evocative. The second one looks a bit like an oil painting, not certain what that means though. In the third the light seems a bit harsh. Overall, shades of Lucinda Williams: Side of the Road http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BocPTCa2ehc It is a very nice subject. Peace, Fr B