Uncommon Grace: Architectural Treasures of Central Europe by Steven Scardina
I simply love dissecting photographs like this one for all that it has to offer. Perhaps that's why I enjoy writing these Image Discussion comments. Photographs, unlike the speed of life, offer the unique opportunity to pause and look more carefully at relationships and details that we might ordinarily miss.
The title of this image by Steven Scardina is Door with Shadows, Lublin, Poland, 2001. It would be difficult to miss, therefore, the door or the shadows. But look at all the additional details there are to see that bring richness and texture to the image. There's the architectural sculpture of the face near the top of the photograph; the board that is sealing the doors closed; this unexplained, isolated capital P inscribed on the left wall; the snow on the ground, but also the snow on the rim ledge left of the door that is missing from the right of the door; the understanding we gain about the shape of the wrought iron as a result of the shadow it casts above the door; the shadow of a second unseen lamp housing that tells us something about the architecture outside our field of view; the unidentified black square in the right wall; the patches in the cement surface of the walls — there is so much to see that might go unnoticed if we simply glanced at this scene walking past it.
Part of what makes all of these observations so interesting is the resulting questions that are left unanswered. What building is this? Why is it boarded closed? What is the significance of the sculptural head above the door? What does the mysterious capital P indicate — and who put it there?
Sometimes it's terrific when a photograph can explain a little bit of the world to us in the clarity that is available almost exclusively to the photographic image. At other times, like in this photograph, it's the unanswered questions that make the image so compelling.
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