Thursday, August 27, 2009

Breaking the line

Hip 2 B Square, San Francisco, August 2009.

I was standing in front of this office driveway with my Leica when a woman asked me what I was taking pictures of. I answered, "lines," and took a quick shot to show her (left). It looks like an abstract painting, she said.

She must have been thinking of Mondrian, who tried to distill the geometry of urban life into obsessively composed paintings of lines and squares and rectangles. To live in a city is to find lines and planes everywhere; the grids of a well-ordered existence. I am drawn to them and the shadows they create, but they are not enough. In much the same way I feel about Mondrian's paintings, I find the symmetry and order of geometry impressive but antiseptic; they leave me cold. People, on the other hand, are unpredictable, messy and disorderly. Their presence in a picture is exactly what I need to break the line.

A fellow Leica enthusiast from Norway said this about the lead picture in this blog post: "it is hip to be square." It's the perfect title for it. Thanks, Roger!

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