Dealing with reality

Old gas pump
Nikon D200, Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 35 mm /f2 ZF


Today I want to talk about a dilemma I'm facing. And I'm sure I'm not alone and many photographers are with me on that. There are still plenty of old things out there. I mean buildings or structures with a rotten charm, items that show their history, and that tell a story just by their look. Many of them we call "classic" because they bear memories for us or they are still just beautiful many years after they have been in use. The dilemma I'm talking about is the fact that many of these items can't be photographed without including "modern structures" as part of the image. Of course, we can photoshop to death and cut out a lot of unwanted stuff. And I have to admit, I do that, if I believe it helps my image to tell the story. I don't hesitate a second to take away an electric cable across the blue sky or a receptacle on the wall right beside my main object.

Have a close look at the picture above. I saw this wonderful old gas pump today while driving around Dubuque, Iowa (and I really mean "around") and tried to spot locations for future "dawn or dusk shots". Whatever I do with the image (and I did a lot with it), it doesn't cry "NOSTALGICA!". The garage door and plastic siding of 'Al's Garage'   take the charm of the old gas pump, at least partly, away. Oh I hear you, '"Take a different perspective!". I did, but the window on the right hand side cried "made-in-a fully-automatic-window-factory"! ;-)

I guess sometimes we have to face reality and just tell the story as it is presented, and not what we have in mind. In this matter, an old family- owned business which kept up with today's demands but still cares about it's history. I don't know if that is true, but I like to believe it. ;-)