It's very easy to miss how much character your city has when you've lived there for 19 years, in the same apartment, since you were born. You don't always stop to look at things as you would in a city that is foreign to you. Realizing how much this concept applies to my own life, when I received a photography class assignment dealing with an Urban Landscape theme, I knew what I had to do.
Not having a vehicle at the time, I took the local TARTA bus to downtown Toledo, walked around for a few hours, and tried to find beauty in the buildings and other sights that generally wouldn't be considered beautiful. Per the assignment guidelines, I took about 25 photos with my cell phone and edited twenty of them with an online application titled Pixlr Express. The LG Optimus F6 phone I used (when set at the highest resolution) has a total of 5 Megapixels on the back facing camera. The phone takes photos that are sized at 2560 x 1920 pixels, equaling a total of 4,915,200 pixels. The resolution is not the greatest in the world, but it worked for the context of the assignment. The photo above, aptly titled "Fire Escape", is my favorite of all the photos taken. The rest can be found here on my Flickr account. This building really stuck out to me in my walk downtown. The slight ruins of the building, coupled with apparent unsteadiness of the fire escape is what really moved me to take the photo. The editing process with Pixlr allowed me to tell a story with this photo that was initially unintended. The first move I made was to crop the photo, getting rid of the unnecessary cars and sky in the first image. Next, I enhanced saturation and contrast, which really brought warmth and great color to the image. Then I decreased the exposure just a bit, giving a darker tone to the photo. The last thing I did was an effect called "Splash". This made the entire photo black and white, and gave me a brush to highlight any area I wanted color in. Discovering this, I highlighted the fire escape itself, which almost gives it a look as if it's actually on fire, when normally the building would be. I ultimately loved the irony of the end result, making this my favorite image among all of them that I took.
I'm really happy that I received this assignment because it allowed me to see how beautiful Toledo really is. Of course there are some amazing artists that create amazing art in this city, and I know many of them personally. Sometimes, however, you just have to stop and look at the city itself to understand how there can be so much elegance in the inelegance.
Until next time, Peace & B Wild.