Quick tip #3: Picking out the details

The idea of picking out details in a scene to tell a story is not easy to do.  Take urban exploration as an example.  I’ve spent a bit of time in an old plant here in Montreal doing photography, bringing friends and clients to explore along with me.  This old plant is 3 floors high and covered with graffiti and random objects, usually garbage [insert random soiled mattress encounter here].  It is so easy to get wrapped up in the long corridors, the random leavings behind of it’s past visitors, the broken windows.

Then I tell myself…. self, if I look beyond the building and it’s walls, what makes this place live and breath?  The art on the walls is the first thing that comes to mind.  Who is behind the art?  People I have never seen, but people who leave behind some of their tools.  So a few days ago, I set out with the idea (one of many floating through my little brain) to grab some images of the objects these graffiti artists leave in the plant.

Here are my few favorites as well as why I like the image and what inspired me to take it 🙂


Not really caring to bring back paint soaked rollers, you can find a few of them around the plant.  This one caught my eye for a few reasons… mainly because it was just left on the window ledge and not dropped on the ground like so many others.  The light was great, but beyond the light, I get an image of a laid back artist just finishing up his work, putting down the roller, having a cigarette, and then just walking off.  There is a kind of quiet vibe to the image.




Not too far off from the roller on the ledge photo was this one on the ground.  My friend eye’s was caught by the pigeon feet, which were nicely defined in the image.  There is a whole bunch I love going on in this image.  The black and white makes me feel like the left side of the floor was painted over.  The bird feet mixed in with the human foot print (not sure if it was mine, let’s pretend it wasn’t) add the extra dimension of showing the two major inhabitants of the plant.  The spray bottle cap left on the light side of the image just adds that tinge of funky contrast.  And no, this was not staged, this was as found (as my images usually are).



And lastly we have the paint cans.  There are sooooo many paint cans around the plant.  Some so old and rusted you can barely tell they are paint cans.  Hundreds… NAY Thousands (!) of cans litter the ground.  This one image is of interest as I’m thinking the flow of water from hard rains would of moved the cans there.  Always love how time can shape a place.  This was purposely shot in a way to get the little mud ravine going off in the distance to give that feel of water.  A mix of old cans and new cans, broken cans and full cans give me the feel of timelessness.


I guess I could have labeled this post “The Method Behind My Madness”, as these are things that go on through my mind as I walk around and make my images.

Hope you enjoyed the read! 🙂

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