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  • Writer's picturePearl Lorentzen

Unflattering angle

Backlit photos tend not to work. A few weeks ago as a journalist, I was taking photos of a helicopter moving some HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning units). The time of day and the position of the building meant that the photos had to be back lit.

I positioned myself to minimize this negative impacts of this, but as I waited the sun went further down. It became increasingly difficult to get a nice shot with details.

Just before I was going to leave, the helicopter looped around to change position. I'd noticed the sundog earlier and taken a photo or two, but it was missing something. The addition of the silhouette of the helicopter flying through the sundog added an extra oomph. While this photo didn't work for photo-journalism, it is my favourite photo from the work day.

A helicopter flights over a sundog. Photo by Pearl Lorentzen.

In this photo, an industrial activity resulted in art. I was at the event as a journalist, but also came home with something beautiful.

Had I been in a position that I wanted to take the photos, this photo wouldn't have been possible. Sometimes art pops up in the most unlikely places.

A few years ago, I was working in a linguistics lab. I was editing recordings of a list of words. The words were random. At one point, I came across rattail moustache (I don't remember if it was one phrase or if the two words just happened to be next to each other).

I wrote a note in my phone, which I believe I then accidentally deleted. However, this year in the midst of a writing exercise, a character similar to the villain I imagined that day popped up in my writing. So far I haven't edited or done more with that story, but its there on paper and has the potential to become a full story.

Looking at something from what might seem like an unflattering angle can sometimes draw out unexpected beauty and inspiration. The key is being there and paying attention.

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