Over the past month, I’ve had a chance to sort of do a little photographic storytelling by creating a series of images over time. On my way to work every day, I pass a series of abandoned parking lots that used to serve a rather large strip mall that has since been demolished. Usually these lots are quite empty, but around the end of June, something odd was there….a light blue wing-back chair.
While you obviously can’t see the color in the picture above, as I thought black and white suited the subject better, trust me, it was blue. The chair was in remarkably good condition, and as you can see, was simply left right in the middle of the abandoned lot. I couldn’t resist the picture, and thought to myself, “I wonder how long before someone picks it up. The first photo was taken, to the best of my knowledge, the day after the chair was abandoned (I’d imagine someone left it there at night). This was June 24, 2013. I then decided that each day, I would check on the chair until it disappeared, and I would take a picture of it if anything had changed. The only thing I made sure of is that I have never touched the chair. All images are as I found it.
The first few days, there were lots of movements. On the second day, someone had knocked the chair over:
That night, we had some thunderstorms, so when I drove by on the third day, the chair was soaked….but someone had stood it back up for some reason:
The morning of the fourth day showed no change to the position of the chair, but by the time I came home later that night, the chair had been moved about 40 feet, knocked over and partially broken. Since it was night in an abandoned lot, I used my car headlights for illumination:
Then, nothing much changed for two weeks. Then, last week, someone ripped off one of the legs and stabbed the chair through the side.
And this is how the poor chair still sits…waiting to decompose or be disposed of. I will continue to drive by and document any further changes.
So, what’s the point? Well, while I added text to this story to let you know the true facts, looking at the pictures, you get a true sense of time passing…of the sort of the Story of the Abandoned Chair. Every once in a while, it’s a great idea to try to tell a story through a photographic series. Try and keep your eyes open for opportunities like this, and then dive in and capture those shots. Happy shooting!
8 thoughts on “Telling a Story: The Chair”
Great series Jordan – and good message to all photographers around.
The concept you here display in the series is called “broken windows”. As long as things look good they stay looking good. When the first scratch is there it accelerates. Check out for “broken windows” in relation to e.g. software quality and urban development.
A great idea, and beautifully shot. I could see these in a wide frame as a series.
Wonderful, Jordan. A bit sad to see such a rapid demolition, but you really give life to a beautiful object here. Oh, and a great testimony for black & whites with the X-E1 and 60mm combination.
Very nice set of pics, Jordan, both in form and in meaning!
Hi! Love the idea of telling stories. Unfortunately the story is in swedish, but the photos are international. http://www.wbi.se/?page_id=2752&wppa-album=4&wppa-cover=0&wppa-occur=1 I’m working on an english alernative on a parallel site. Will soon be up. Regards Hans
Wonderful post. I really enjoy storytelling like this because there are multiple layers, including the subject(s) in the photos and the narrator. So, following the thread of the narrator (you), what did you eventually observe of the chair?
Thanks for this fun story!
I was trained as an architect and took up serious photography in my first year at university. A common assignment at the time was doing photo essays, i.e. telling a story (typically about some architectural space or form) with pictures.
Now retired from front line practice as an architect, I am keen to pick up doing photo essays again and there are plenty of stories to tell in my part of the world – Hong Kong/China/Asia.
I have been a follower of this wonderful site for a while now but stumbled upon this little photo essay just now. It is wonderful to be able to communicate a story across language/culture/age/time thanks to photography and of course light which we shall continue to admire.
K L Kwan