Tuesday, April 29, 2008

In the Name of Art

Sometimes photographers go to dangerous lengths to capture a photograph, perhaps even putting personal safety at risk to bring to light scenes that might otherwise go undocumented. Today was my first foray into such "danger zone" photography.

Okay, so I wasn't embedded with the U.S. forces in Iraq or tracking Maoist rebels in the mountains of Nepal like a certain friend of mine who is a for-real photographer, but today was as close as I have come to risking life and limb for a photo.

I was shooting on the fire escape.

On the fourth floor.

Only three levels of these rusty metal bars between me and a very unpleasant landing.

Why brave such dangers in the name of photography? Well, The Noticing Project has invited their readers to share photographs of things they notice this week, and as a New Yorker in a comparatively small apartment sometimes I just feel I have "noticed" (and photographed) every little thing there is to notice. I wanted a different angle.

I thought to shoot a photo of something on the windowsill, but by the time I got home from work the sunlight had already left the sill and migrated onto the fire escape. I just followed the light. It wasn't until I had two feet out the window and was shifting my weight onto the suddenly quite shifty fire escape that I thought perhaps I'd better make this a quick shoot.

All right, in reality a heart-stopping second or two does not equate to any real risk to life and limb, but I know now that if there is a fire in the building I am going to start making a rope out of my sheets. 40 neighbors fleeing the building down that rickety structure is definitely not a good idea.

14 comments:

amy said...

hehehe, I had to laugh when I saw your post because I just finished uploading this picture to flickr. great minds, eh? Truth is, I think risk is very necessary in photography (precarious fire escape balancing is essential) - i have paused in the middle of a couple very busy roads just to capture the way the light reflects off the pavement. oh yeah. just be careful ;)

Marcie said...

The risk was well worthwhile. Love the images..and the captured light.
Really nice.....

Robin said...

I feel the same way about noticing all there is to notice in my tiny apartment. Too bad I'm on the bottom floor and don't have a gorgeous fire escape to climb out onto!
Love this.
Lovely blog!

Shelli said...

ha ha. Well, you got some fabulous photos! I know what you mean - Many times I think that I've taken every possible photo I can take in my yard. But if I keep trying, I can usually find something new.

I'm Andrea said...

I absolutely love your photographs... very inspiring. I'm so glad I found your blog through Robin. I will be stopping by often. :)

Hooked on Houses said...

I thought these photos were so cool. What else I thought was cool--seeing that you put Hooked on Houses on your blogroll. Thanks so much! You made my day. -Julia :-)

Sabrina said...

I love the early evening lighting. And danger aside, your iron fire escape is beautiful.

Chessa said...

I love these images. And, the light is wonderful...I'm glad you got home when you did! I find it amazing that we can overlook such small details on a day to day basis. I like to go out shooting by myself but I'm always scared I'll get hit by a cab or sthg in my quest to "get" the shot! I need a bodyguard.
I have to dig through my archives to find pictures of fence details similar to these...great minds, indeed.

limonana said...

beautiful shots...just love the golden light & detailing on the fire escape!

bee said...

you have mail.

Brianna said...

Taking pretty pictures that make me feel like I should never be allowed to touch a camera is obviously the most popular hobbie for 30-something girls in NY...

Also...This is your official notification that I tagged you to fill our a somewhat lame meme, read all about it here

Christine said...

even if it isn't quite safe it certainly is a lovely fire escape! ;-)

psumommy said...

These are beautiful! My favorite is the one with the swirl. The lighting on that fire escape is gorgeous...definitely worth the risk!

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