22 March 2011

Févorites Fauteaux: St Jean Staircase

It's been a busy month in the real world so far, but...

Welcome back to my favorite photos! This entry's title has a faux-French flavor to signal that the photo in question is true French. (Actually, that lame explanation is supposed to cover my meaningless penchant for silly spellings. Can anyone say ghoti?)

Phirst the foto, then a bit about why it's one of my favorites.

St. Jean Staircase (No. 2), Lyon
(I've sort of copped out on the title of this image by giving it a "number 2". I wanted to distinguish it from another shot of this same staircase that some may already know from contests and framed prints.)

This image makes my list of favorites for the following reasons:

  • The rich, warm coloring, combined with the gradient shading of the forms and the light, give it a very cozy, timeless feeling. 
  • It's got a nice mix of curves and angles in repetitive patterns. 
  • There's balance: the pattern on the top (the underside of the stair) balances the one on the bottom, while the darkness toward the top right (under the curve) is balanced by that on the bottom left.
  • It's got nothing to distract me (as opposed to Staircase No. 1).

And finally:

  • Starting at the top, each of the four macro-shapes leads harmoniously to its neighbor: 1) The honey underside of the staircase forms a stark curving border to outline the top of the 2) eye-shaped back wall. The ochre back wall dissolves downward to the 3) serrated repetition of the left edge of the steps, which in turn make part of the bottom border of the wall. And 4) the vaguely thorn-shaped shadow at left continues the bottom border in an arc back to the top of the eye shape.

The overarching dominant form this interaction of shapes creates for me is — Surprise! — that of a tree leaf, such as a hornbeam or a leaf from my favorite tree of all, a beech. Which goes to show that even when I'm not taking pictures of trees, I'm seeing them. And with that, I'll sneak a real tree into this entry.

Down at the Beech


My apologies if anyone clicked on the "Beta Dad" blog link in my favorites up there on the right and the link took you to a placeholder site for someone else. The real Beta Dad blog's name is butterbeanandcobra.blogspot.com. Go there to find out why this name. I've corrected my link.


  1. Great photo! I can see why it is one of your phavorites! :) -Tiffany

  2. always nice to see you pictures and now read all about it! Gabijan