I had gone to New Haven to visit Hull’s, my favorite art supply store. Since I already had a parking space I took a stroll along Chapel Street down to Atticus Bookstore for a coffee and pastry. I almost always take a camera when I’m out, and I make a special point of it when I go to New Haven because it’s one of my few opportunities to practice “street photography”. We do have streets in Woodbury but they tend toward the small town not urban. Walking back, as I got closer to Hull’s I began to see this image take shape. I liked the red of the leaves, the green of the post on the right, the reversed L pointing to the bicycle; all against the textured concrete wall. But what makes the image a success in my mind is the sign, “Bus Stop-No Standing”. I know what it means, but I love the ambiguity of it. What are we supposed to do as we wait for the bus, sit on the curb? Perhaps we’re supposed to time our arrival so as to get there just as the bus pulls up. It’s the kind of thing one sees all the time and ignores because we understand the meaning even if it’s not clearly expressed.
Some things drive my wife crazy. It’s not “wax paper” it’s WAXED paper, and it’s not “ice tea” it’s ICED tea. We know the difference and what is correct, at least I hope we do, but we accept the wrong label because we know what is intended and it seems harmless. But is it?
Language and it’s use is a marvelous thing. It is constantly changing and shifting; old words fall out of use and new words are coined and incorporated into daily conversation. Texting and email have encouraged the use of brevity, sometimes at the expense of clarity and accuracy, and misuse or lack of punctuation doesn’t help.
I didn’t think of all this as I took this photograph. I was just taken with the light, the color and the texture; it was all about the graphic nature of the scene. That’s what photography can do though; stop us in our tracks and make us think.
Pentax K10D, 35mm macro lens. Processed in Photoshop CS4.