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Archive for December 3rd, 2011

It was about 4 o’clock and the light favored Glenview Road. I was waiting on the side street, having just pulled out of the library’s parking lot.  I went over the to-do list for that evening in my head: emails, phone calls, drawings to finish,  a blog to write, what to do for dinner, you know, the usual stuff.  Here I was, stuck in traffic and who enjoys waiting for a light to turn green!  Well, actually, for me, it’s often a welcome moment.   It was a long light. Going over the chores list once is enough.  After that, I switch into visual.  I looked around.  There was something eerie about this late afternoon lighting. All I noticed at first was the low hanging thick gray cloud cover.  And then, there on my left was the library, with the peaks of the roof line illuminated in the rapidly setting sun.  Since this was not a bright sunny day at all and the ominous, leaden sky gave no hint of a sun anywhere, the peaks of the gabled roof line appeared to be glowing from within. I rolled down the window and fumbled for my camera.  I took just one frame.  The light changed on Glenview Road and I turned into the intersection.

I feared the worst for this shot:  It was just too dramatic.  When things seem to be glowing from within, you’re on thin ice.  The figures of Rembrandt and Caravaggio often come at us out of tarry, pessimistic blackness and they shine like lanterns. But for the epigoni, depicting figures that glow with an inner fire leads inevitable to preachy kitsch.

What saves this photo from the glowing ash heap of kitsch, I think, is the severity of the composition.  Saved by zig-zagging triangles!  Notice that the shrub in the lower right corner gives us a triangle standing on a point that is outside the frame.  Notice also, that the zig-zags go down from left to right and the illuminated peaks work in counterpoint, by going up.  Counterpoint pulls you from the brink of kitsch, any day.

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