Learning from my sons

“Most people don’t take snapshots of the little things. The used Band-Aid, the guy at the gas station, the wasp on the Jell-O. But these are the things that make up the true picture of our lives. People don’t take pictures of these things.”
— Sy Parrish (Robin Williams), One Hour Photo, 2002

Two of our sons, gifted photographers, have an eye for shooting compelling pictures of the quirky and bizarre, and the commonplace objects of everyday life.

Soft drinks in a Taiwan street market. Photo by Ben Peipert

On many occasions, I’ve watched them closely examine an object that escaped my notice, snap a picture at an odd angle or in extreme close-up and turn it into an artful image.
I’m sometimes too burdened by the habits of conventional photography: Sticking mostly to landscapes and portraits, straightening the image in the viewfinder, trying to include everything that tells the story. But that sometimes makes for boring photos, the sort you see on postcards.

Ron Mueck sculpture exhibit at Modern Art Museum in Fort Worth. Photo by Thomas Peipert

America’s highways and byways are littered with the quirky and bizarre, such as a statue of a giant rooster welcoming tourists to Hatch, N.M., old boots used as fence post toppers in the Texas Hill Country, or the poignant photos of lost loved ones at a roadside shrine near Miami, Ariz.
I’ve been trying to learn from my sons how to spot such curiosities and make them into engaging photographs. Here’s a selection of odds-and-ends photos — images that caught my eye — during a transcontinental bicycle ride:

Street signs in Lakeside, Calif.

Roadside shrine near Miami, Ariz.

Welcome to Hatch, N.M.

Ornamental deer with ristras in Hatch, N.M.

Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument in New Mexico

A gift shop in Mesilla, N.M., that was once the courthouse where Billy the Kid was tried and sentenced to hang on April 13, 1881. He later escaped

Shop sign in Fort Davis, Texas

Boots on fence posts in the Texas Hill Country

Cheap lodging in Kerrville, Texas

Diamond C Ranch in East Texas

Garish mansion on Pensacola Bay

Bronze statue of Ray Charles in Greenville, Fla.

Mouth of a cannon at Fountain of Youth in St. Augustine



Filed under Americana, Cycling across America, Journeys

4 responses to “Learning from my sons

  1. Judging by these results, your sons have taught you well. Kudos.

  2. george rivera

    great photos am just statring as ameteur myself

  3. Barbara Taylor

    Looking forward to seeing your upcoming gallery showing, and knowing you more deeply through your art! Probably can’t make it to the opening celebration, but will definitely get by there during the following month!

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