05 March 2011

Phavorite Photos

I’ve decided to start a series of occasional posts involving an impossibly painful process: choosing favorite pictures. I’ll make it a little less impossibly painful by avoiding narrowing it down to a fixed number. During a gallery show of 90 prints on the wall, I cringed when people asked which was my favorite. I couldn’t answer. And if I couldn’t answer with that limited number to choose from, imagine multiplying it by about 150 and then picking my “favorite”. Just...can't...do it.

So I won’t, and I’ll just content myself with showcasing “some favorites”, but one at a time. I only have two rules: 1) the image shouldn’t have appeared in any earlier blog entries, and 2) the image shouldn’t be too similar to its predecessor. Rule 1 means I won’t highlight the first candidate that popped into my head. Rule 2 means you won’t have to look only at trees.

(I hope eventually to show some of my favorite images by other photographers, if I can get their permission to post them.)

So for this phirst phavorite photo, I present you this banana leaf. (At least, that’s what I think it is. Botanists, feel free to correct me.) I took this last summer when Maddie and I went shooting at the Wilhelma zoo and botanical gardens in Stuttgart.*
Probable Banana Leaf
Why is this one of my favorites? For four reasons:
  1. It’s got a nice biogeometric pattern — its being a natural one gives it extra bonus points;
  2. It’s got juxtaposed shapes and shades, with a bold central element slashing through the otherwise delicate ribbing; and
  3. It’s decontextualized, which is probably not a word but you know what I’m saying: if you didn’t know what it (probably) was, you might not know what it was.
Last — and this is why it rises above others with those same elements above — it holds up well when you look at it for a long time. The more I gaze at it, the more it rewards the looking, and the more curiosity and wonder it elicits at the simple beauty of nature. 

For that reason, if you click on it, you'll see a large version so you can get the details.

* You know what kind of shooting, right?


  1. Reason number 4 for loving this photo: it won an award at All Army! :) (Wasn't this one of them? I'm pretty sure it was though I'm not looking at my notes...)

  2. Kelly: You're right, thanks for remembering! But even if it hadn't... :-)

  3. Beautiful. It looks like a painting. But better.

  4. real reason number 4: it's part of a tree

  5. Andy: Nice compliment, thanks. Tarisa: I think there's a pattern emerging!