Monday, January 17, 2011

Oh, that old thing?

Last March I had a freelance photography assignment in Gloucester, MA. When I was done, I headed up the coast to take some shots of the waves crashing on rocky shore, windswept beaches, and the beautiful homes in the area. I drove to Rockport because I wanted to get some shots of Motif #1—the “most often-painted building in America,” according to Wikipedia.

I’d know it when I saw it, I’d thought--a red fishing shack built in the 1840s, the subject of so many paintings from the artist’s colony in Rockport that painter Lester Hornby dubbed it Motif #1.

But, like overlooking a celebrity walking the dog without her hair and makeup done, I dismissed the old fishing shack I saw as a second rate look alike. That faded, old thing? Couldn't be. Where, oh, where was the real Motif #1? 


Recently I had my chance to look for the shack again when a group of photographers met to shoot some winter pix along the rocky North Shore coast. Rockport was on the agenda. And what do you know?  The "faded, old thing” I’d dismissed last year turned out to be Motif #1-–a celebrity sans makeup. Or not without makeup, actually. It turns out that the paint used to maintain the shack is formulated to look weather beaten even when freshly painted.

Our expectations play such a role in what we see ... or think we see ... and what we dismiss as "that faded, old thing."



Jo said...

I love the look of that shack. It looks like an Edward Hopper painting. I always like things that look like "that faded old thing". They are the things that have the most beauty, don't you think?

My favorite quote is “I sometimes think that the stars never shine more brightly than when reflected in the muddy waters of a wayside ditch.” (W. Somerset Maugham)

Wonderful photographs...!

Pauline said...

"Our expectations play such a roll in what we see ... or think we see"

Oh yes! Have been in an ongoing discussion with a friend over how the world reflects what we perceive. I can add this post as one more example of that.

Wanda said...

Oh these pictures are so outstanding Ruth. I just watch "The Perfect Storm" again, and then saw these pictues. So interesting.

Tere said...

All of these photos are just beautiful.

Anonymous said...

Some nice photos here. Thanks for sharing.