Looking at Images #7

  By George Barr

 Abstract In Pink

There are a number of places to visit around Calgary where one can have fun photographing old machinery. They provide interesting shapes, faded paint, rust and gears.

Most know of Heritage Park, some have visited Turner Valley Gas Plant. I’m guessing that fewer have visited Pioneer Acres, just north west of Iricana, which itself is north east of Calgary. There’s a modest admission fee and then you can wander around to your hearts content.

This image was the side of an ancient combine, sitting in a quarter mile row of other old farm machinery. In addition, there are old steam tractors as well as some exhibits of restored old farm equipment.

The site itself has antique tractor pulls and plowing demonstrations and threshing and so on over the summer. Check the website Pioneer Acres for an event schedule.

On the image itself, this is a study in composition. There was more I could have photographed, and of course by moving back, I could have made it more obvious what the subject is, but perhaps by know you know that isn’t what I like to do.

What worked for me in this image is the flow from top to bottom – the rust running down to the circular access hatch, as well as a variety of colours all of a theme, as well as some lines and interesting shapes. It was necessary that the four corners contribute to the image, and not leave the sense of the image wandering off forever.

I felt the access hatch needed a little breathing room at the bottom, rather than touching the edge of the frame – what are your thoughts on that? Arguably the access hatch shouldn’t be right in the centre – what happened to rule of thirds? Well, like any rules for making images, they exist for when you don’t have any better ideas. The bolts are all centre or left but the flowing rust is a little right of centre and I think balances them.

Photographs like this don’t rely on dramatic lighting, long shadows or stormy skies, and I’m sure are not to the liking of everyone, but photography is about making images the photographer finds interesting, not trying to please a market – were that the case we’d all be photographing babies, kittens and dogs with clothes.