Saturday, June 6, 2015

The Story of A Photograph: The Isolated Stairs

The Isolated Stairs - Bakersfield, California
The photograph above, The Isolated Stairs, is a bit different for me. I really haven't created any similar photographs to it. I'm not exactly sure what genre it might best fit into.

Back in December I was selected for jury duty. It took three days to get through the process. I was almost selected as an alternate juror on a trial, but ultimately was dismissed.

On the second day, while standing in a second-story hallway of the courthouse waiting for the judge to let us into the courtroom, I captured the photograph above using a Nokia Lumia 1020. I looked over the railing and noticed this stairway. It seemed rarely used. Perhaps it was meant as an alternate exit route for emergency situations. Or perhaps it was a poor design to put stairs here and now almost no one uses them. Whatever the case, the stairs seemed isolated from the bustle of the rest of the building.

There's some subtle color-contrast (blue and yellow) to draw in the viewer. There are tons of repeated lines and shapes. It's a simple scene yet it seems busy to the eye.

I didn't do a whole lot of post-processing since the out-of-camera JPEG was close to what I wanted. Using Alien Skin Exposure 7 software I made very small adjustments to the color saturation, contrast, brightness, tone, highlights and shadows. I added a subtle vignette. I added a slight blur to the top so that the viewer's eyes won't be as attracted to it. I added a small amount of grain. Nothing too major.

To me, this photograph is more about a feeling than anything else. There is a sense of solitude. My eyes travel down the stairs (and not up), thanks to the changing brightness of the metallic surfaces. Then there's the scale--the stairs are too far down to reach. It all adds up to a metaphoric view of urban life.

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