A Digital Journal

Photography by Tony Triolo

Focus: Passages

Focus: Passages book

I was pleasantly surprised this week when a copy of a new book arrived at my doorstep.  I had totally forgotten that I had permitted Lark Publishing the use of a couple of my photos in their latest publication.  Called Focus: Passages, it is a compilation of photographs gleaned from the Flickr photo-social website, dealing with doors, passageways and tunnels.

The second book in a series, Passages is a collection of photographs of 124 photographers from 30 countries. The series showcases how the simplest things around us can provide fodder for engaging and even breathtaking images. Objects that most people walk by without taking much notice, often can be turned into things of beauty by the discerning eye of a person willing to slow down and see things in a new way. Photographers routinely scan their neighborhoods and other surroundings looking for subjects of beauty, intrigue or surprise.  Passages showcases the evocative power of doors and other passageways.  While a door provides a very utilitarian purpose in offering a way to pass through a wall, for the photographer, it evokes feelings of another kind.  A door is a threshold between one place and another.  An open door can be an invitation to explore what lies beyond.  It can be a temptation to see what is on the other side.  By contrast, a closed door represents authority, privacy or knowledge withheld.  It is a challenge – do we dare open it not knowing what may await us on the opposite side?  The book presents various interpretations on the theme ranging from the sublime to the provocative – exactly like the doors and passageways we face each and every day.

Belle Mina, Alabama

Oddly, the two photos of mine selected for the book were taken around the same time, even though I have dozens of door photos represented on Flickr spanning the past  20 plus years.  This first one, was taken in the tiny, historic town of Belle Mina, Alabama, which is quite close to where I live in Athens.  I often pass through Belle Mina on my way to I-565 or Decatur.  On one such trip, I happened to notice this building being demolished.  Located right off the railroad track, which bisects downtown Belle Mina, it wasn’t too difficult to spot.  The colors of the brick wall and the few remaining patches of plaster, combined with the slightly askew doorway drew me to it.  Fortunately, I did have my camera with me and took a few shots.  I couldn’t help but wonder what purpose the building might have served, or where the door led to.  I wondered about all the people who had passed through the door while the building was functioning as a commercial enterprise.  Unfortunately, the wall and door were knocked down a few weeks later and replace by a new building.

Rhyolite, Nevada

This second image was taken at the ghost town of Rhyolite, Nevada.  It shows the back-end of an old caboose that lies near the long-abandoned train depot there.  During the Photo Marketing Association’s (PMA) annual convention in Las Vegas, I had the opportunity to go on a photo safari to Death Valley that included a stop in Rhyolite.  I don’t think I would be overly dramatic to suggest that an old ghost town to a photographer, is like read meat to a hungry lion.  I mean you have old crumbling buildings, doors and windows galore, rusting metal things, desert critters, etc.  It’s got it all.  Be that as it may, even after taking a bunch of photos at Rhyolite, I was really not happy with what I was getting.  It might have had something to do with the fact that, by the time we got to Rhyolite, it was late in the day and I was dog-tired and hungry.  The sun was setting, so I was losing light.  After a couple of hours, I packed up my gear and got back on the bus for the ride back to Vegas.  I am only really happy with one image I got at Rhyolite, and this one of the caboose isn’t it.  It was of the front of the train depot itself, and it required a bit of Photoshopping to bring out its amazing colors.  While the caboose photo my not be a personal favorite, many people seem to like it and I have even sold a few prints of it.  I’m glad that the Lark Company liked it too.

Focus: Passages  Your World, Your Images

Lark, A Division of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.    New York/London

ISBN:  978-1-60059-680-3

September 11, 2010 Posted by | Alabama, Historic Alabama, Photography | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment