The Blank Slate

I am not a very good judge of my own work so the reaction to this image surprised me. Even in the moment of its creation, as I framed the shot, I second-guessed myself: “Who will be interested in a photograph of a blank and rusty sign, hanging on the side of a decrepit garage?” But I took the shot anyway, not sure why, responding to something in the scene before me.

Then, I included it in a recent post exploring the use of signs as photographic elements. I hesitated about doing so – did it really fulfill the topic requirements? After all, it isn’t a sign anymore – all traces of its original message wiped clean by time and weather. Instead, there is only mystery and possibility and imagination in its blankness. An invitation to write your own story; an opportunity to start again. Unsure, I added it to the end, almost as an afterthought.

Well, apparently, quite a few of you were interested. Your comments were overwhelmingly positive – in fact, this image was the hands-down favorite of my signs set. You, too, saw something in this image; something that connected.

Even after 18 months of blogging, sharing my words and images with you, this connection between us still amazes me. I knew this image spoke to me in some hidden and secret way, in a way that defied explanation – but to know that it touched you as well – what a gift! Thank you for that – for taking this blank slate and writing upon it with me. What better image to illustrate this month’s Photo-Heart Connection, than this – a sign that is no longer a sign, waiting for whatever comes next.

Linking to The Photo-Heart Connection, hosted by Kat Eye Studio


Posted on August 2, 2012, in Photography and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 22 Comments.

  1. Yes, it is amazing when others recognize what you see in an image – a true heart connection.

  2. Perfect photo heart connection. I love it every time I see it!

  3. This is my first time to view this image and I was awe struck as well. Something to simple yet moving. The tones are lovely and the geometric patterns just draw one in! Gorgeous work! I’m on my way to look at your flickr photostream! :o)

    • Suzette – welcome to my little corner of the web! I so appreciate your comment, both here and on my Flickr photostream. These connections are the reason we do this, yes? I hope you will stop by often.

  4. It’s odd that I feel drawn to this image but cannot put my finger on the exact reason why . . . maybe it’s the textured elements, the untold stories that it seems to hold, the subtle color palette . . . whatever it is it’s magical in some way.

  5. “..waiting for whatever comes next..”

    Beautiful post, Brenda. The image does have a sense of mystery to it, at least for me.

    I so appreciate your artwork that you share with us.

    Peace and blessings to you…

  6. There is a wonderful simplicity in this image that allows us to imagine. A perfect selection for your photo-heart connection, Brenda.

  7. We are all the same boat Brenda… following our heart, never quite sure why. Learning as we go, often surprised with what connects to others but amazingly gratified when it happens. I still love this image, and I love what it represents for you. A perfect Photo-Heart Connection, for you and for us. Thank you!

  8. Hi Brenda-Missed this the first time around, so glad I’m catching it this time. I too find it a wonderful photograph. Before I read your words, I looked at all the lines, including those on the rusted sign and in the garage windows and thought-yes Brenda would find this.
    I’m not sure what emotion is evoked for me in this image….I think it may be of missed opportunities, rather than endless possibilities, or my head may just be in a cloudy day place rather than a sunny one. For sure this is an image that causes pause-for me, that’s always the sign (pardon the pun) of a great image. Happy day to you my friend. So glad I travel in blogger land with you-frequently and infrequently depending on what’s going on with me, but always good none the less.

  9. Good evening Brenda…..I read many of the above comments. The funny thing is, what I first noticed were the papered up windows. I wondered how aged they were, what was behind them. To me they hold a secret….an escape….a mystery. The perfect texture for the perfect shot. Never second guess yourself my friend. smiles: sharon

  10. nice choice for your photo heart connection, it is a striking image.

  11. What an interesting photograph! I love the monochromatic colors and the textures and graphic shapes you’ve captured. I agree that there’s something mysterious about it – I always feel that way about old, abandoned buildings. I think I see traces of tendrils where vines used to cling to the building. I can imagine someone tearing off the old vines and the sign’s message coming right off with them. The rust lines crossing the blank sign make me think of a gift waiting to be unwrapped. You’ve given us one in this evocative image.

  12. Extraordinary study in textures and shape and form. Great eye!

  13. I so love white on whites, would love to do an entire series on whites. Plus the textures really make this a take-a-look-again photo.

  14. I like this image, esp. the colors and composition… and there’s something more in it too – definitely a photo-heart connection!

  15. Love the image and love your connection with it. I know exactly what you mean – sometimes I’m not sure about images I post too but something indefinable makes me hit publish on them anyway. I love opening up these images to responses – others’ connections are amazing, enlightening and so precious. Thank you for sharing this one with us. 🙂

  16. Love this image, textures, colors and shapes are wonderful. Fantastic photo-heart connection

  17. This image captured me in your sign post and it makes me catch my breath again! I’m drawn to this shot because I’m so curious… I want to know the story of this door and it’s sign! Great post!

  18. Oh yes Brenda there is something about this image, the tones, the composition, all of it. For me, it conjures memories of my grandparents house as they had a garage door with windows. What a wonderful photo-heart connection, thanks for sharing this!

  19. What a amazing picture, I love it, it looks so cool, and your words I like a lot too, thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  20. What a great image… warm texture and geometric graphics, beautifully composed.

  21. I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again. It’s such a pleasure to have this window seat view of your creative process Brenda–your images and thoughts are always inspiring.

I greatly appreciate your comments!

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