OK, so it’s January in New England. I’m supposed to be out in the snow taking photographs. But the truth is that it is so much warmer in the Mall – our local Mall, “The Natick Collection.”
So on a lazy January day I decided upon an experiment. I would take my IPhone 4S with me to the mall and I would take some pictures. In this case I decided to apply three rules to myself. First, the goal was geometrics. Second, only black and whites were allowed. And third, only geometrics would be allow. That is no people.
The Natick Collection has this kind of imitation Frank Gehry design. Outside they cheat and do it with an artificial wavelike facade. It looks kind of like a boat and there are big sweeping lines inside and out. As a result, inside the mall there is a cool framework, and this framework in turn casts some very interesting shadows. These shadows create there own complementary geometric patterns. The roof is made of glass. It looks a bit like a greenhouse and on a good day the light streams in spectacularly.
So I headed up the escalator into the light. I planted my feet on the soft upstairs carpeting and contemplated the path conveniently laid in rectangles before me. I have a bit of difficulty in framing the image on my IPhone in what is, to me, an awkward position – not to mention that it’s a bit hard to see while you’re framing.
In the end, my trip to the mall fits well to the description of being a “personal photographic wandering.” I think that confining oneself to using a cell phone camera was a very valuable exercise. It let’s you focus on the photograph. I was going to add “and not your equipment,” but you always have to know and understand your equipment and what it can do.
But as I walked around the mall contemplating storefronts and sushi bars, I remembered Ansel Adams’ burro named Miseltoe. Misletoe accompanied Adams on his first long trip into Sierras in 1920, when Adams was just eighteen. Mistletoe, carried almost a hundred pounds of gear and food, Adams a thirty-pound pack full of photographic equipment.