Finding Beauty In The Banal

Black and white abstract image of a plastic barrier on wet grass.

For those of us living in a large city it’s essential, for our own state of mind, to be able to find beauty in the banal. All it takes is a walk outside, in the light, and an open mind.

Finding Beauty in the Banal

You can discover beauty in the shapes, colors, textures and surfaces as you explore the world around you.

Likewise look for beauty in the juxtaposition between dualities such as contemporary and traditional, natural and man made.

Composition Based Photography

Shape and repetition are important to the way I’ve structured this simple image of a plastic barrier lying on wet grass.

However, the most important elements that underpin the composition in this image include the following:

  • light

  • texture

  • tonality

It’s a rolled up bundle of plastic, the kind used as a barrier to pedestrians around construction sites.

I’ve always found the orange/red color of these barriers to be quite beautiful.

However, rendering the image into black and white allowed me to remove the material from its reality and build an image, primary, around its compositional elements.

So, while on one hand, this is a photo of a discarded section of temporary plastic fencing, it’s really a study in composition.

In fact composition was what I was thinking about when I made the image.

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Photography Transcends Reality

When you’re out and about, even on a bleak winter’s day, keep an eye out for beauty and don’t discount the ability of photography to take an otherwise banal subject or scene and make from it something quite special.

It’s just one way by which photography allows us to transcend the usual reality in which we choose to live our lives.

All you need is a keen eye, a mobile phone and, possibly, an app to develop the photo in line with your own vision and you’re in the business of making interesting and thought provoking photos.

Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru