Humble Contributions to the Peoples' History

Over the past couple months I’ve taken a photography course at the Community Arts Center with the hope that I could improve on my blog photos. Steven Miller, who has photographs in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Museum, presented us with a series of assignments that emphasized various photographic techniques. Inspired to step out of my comfort zone, I experimented with photographing different subjects.

My travels during this time took me to a narrow backstreet in the Mount Airy section of Philadelphia. Near the corner of Carpenter and Greene, little stores nestled on either side of street. A cooperative grocery, an independent coffee shop, a second-hand store offered a bustling section to an otherwise quiet street. The Big Blue Marble Bookstore with its colorful façade and window dressing of books and toys offered a particularly bright spot. Just across from the bookstore, I discovered a honey hole of photographic opportunity, the Philadelphia Salvage Company. The shop, a wonderland of restoration projects, overflowed with antique doors and stained glass windows. Vintage boxes and light fixtures lined the aisles. Boxes of buttons, rows of tiles, planks of wood scattered about the warehouse. On one of the shelves someone had arranged a collection of  gears, and that’s where I found my prize photo, the best of the 500 pictures I took during this time.

Click on the photo for a better view.

IMG_1845 - Version 2


Update: Photograph won first prize at the Community Arts Member Show, June 2013.

Comments on: "Freewheeling: One Good Photograph" (4)

  1. I’ve started to think a photography course might be interesting and fun – but do you have a big snappy camera with exchangeable lenses and all that? I wonder if they’d even let a simple essentially point’n’shoot digital in the door?


    • No, not a camera with interchangeable lenses . . . rather a Canon Power Shot SX40HS, which does a good job. Even my instructor was impressed with the moon shots I could get -showing detailed craters, etc. The manual, over 143 pages, is intimidating at first but even with my lack of patience for reading directions, I’ve managed to figure out most of it over the last six months. I still have to consult the manual for the details and carry it with me when I go out on a shoot. I’ve learned to use the manual setting on the camera, which once I became familiar with it, I really like the results even while getting used to the idea of not taking an instant photograph. The instructor recommended that we shoot in the “raw” format, which this camera does not have, although it has a setting called “full size” which is supposed to maximize the pixels. One member of the class used a point’n shoot; our instructor stressed artistic approaches rather than technological gimmicks, which was more my interest, too. Camera courses have a range of emphasis so you might find one that fits what you’re looking for. I would not have guessed that your photos are taken with a point’n shoot. K


      • That’s encouraging. I’ve thought I might be laughed out of the class if I arrived without a full bag of lenses, tripods, filters and whatever else ‘real’ photographers use. My camera does have options to play with (and I haven’t read the manual yet, which is unusual because it’s what I usually do first.) However, I was so thrilled that my new electronic gadget and I got along so well right from the beginning, also unusual, that I haven’t gotten to it. And thank you for the kind comment on my photos.


  2. […] special attention: a shelf of different sized gears.  The photograph of those gears inspired this blog post, and three months later the photo won first place at the Community Arts […]


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