Wednesday, October 30, 2019

The glory of the perfectly imperfect, plain leaf

Still glorious in its own way
London, ON
October 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
The same thing happens every year: We chase autumn colors, then lament the moment they fade away and are replaced by the cold greys of winter.

I’m no different than the herd, as I like a good explosive-color scene as much as anyone else.

But I noticed something this year on my half dozen or so color-seeking photowalks. Namely, it wasn’t always easy to find the color. Some trees stayed stubbornly green. Others turned less spectacular shades of yellow or brown, or went straight from green to empty. Some days, I wandered around looking for color only to realize Mother Nature was telling a different story.

Which got me thinking about why we idealize certain things in the first place. We’re so focused on the spectacular, the headline-grabbers, the biggest, best, and brightest. Yet lurking in the shadows there may be stories worth telling - only they won’t get told because everyone’s breathlessly going after the superlatives, the keepers, the perfect examples.

It’s like tourism, where the same iconic places get overrun by hordes of the same people, all looking for the same thing. The Eiffel Tower, the gondolas of Venice, the Taj Mahal. No one turns the other way and looks for the unseen alleyways of Paris, or the neighborhoods behind the tourist town, or the villages that made the marble-clad monument possible.

Pity that.

Which brings me to this imperfectly green, stained, plain-looking leaf. No one celebrates it like they do the blazing ones. It exists in the unsought shadows, the forest-equivalent of a back alley, a place where no right-thinking soul ever deliberately goes looking for inspiration.

Doesn’t make it any less worthy. Or beautiful. Or poignant in its solitude.

Popularity is overrated, anyway. And I like being able to shoot without the masses jostling me for position.

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