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Visual Inventory, CT

April 12, 2012

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I recently purchased the new book from architect John Pawson, called “A Visual Inventory” – and I’ve been looking at it daily.  I’ve always appreciated Pawson’s work and aesthetic – I often refer to his cookbook, “Living & Eating”, at home.  (The homes he designs can feel a little too spare for my own tastes but that’s another post.)  This new book is a photographic scrapbook of inspiration and represents Pawson’s unique way of seeing the world around him and his thoughts and observations about what he sees. It includes his own photos – like a visual diary – paired with his words about the pictures. Many of the photos are absolutely incredible. He is often considering things in terms of architecture – line, form, space, shape, function, etc.

I love this way of looking at the world – and using photography as a way to record your observations. The photos lack a narrative in a way – they are snapshots at their core. But I see a real value in that for my own personal inspiration and growth … not every photograph that I take needs to tell a larger story. Sometimes, I like to take a picture that is simply an observation – I often refer to these as a “photographic sketchbook” (I’ve posted about these here before). They are not fully-formed photographs on their own, really — they are simply a record of what I see/my thought process/inspiration/influences. It’s similar to the sketchbook of a painter or illustrator or the like.

I was thinking about Pawson’s book and making my own photographic observations this past weekend – I went for a long walk in Connecticut near my parents’ house and saw some noteworthy stuff.  The sun was shining on the way out and it had clouded over on my way back.  I saw a wildlife blind with the most simple construction & beautiful benches.  The landscape is in transition right now, still very brown & grey until everything is green again.  Above, I’m posting my own visual inventory of what I saw.

  1. tutie permalink
    April 12, 2012 9:03 am

    Just beautiful

  2. Carlos permalink
    April 12, 2012 9:31 am

    wow. INCREDIBLE. and well said words! your site is always inspirational.

  3. April 12, 2012 10:16 am

    yes. cheers to record keeping.

  4. April 12, 2012 12:04 pm

    great post, b. those photographic sketches are so important – out of them will sometimes come bigger things, eh.
    i love pawson’s visual inventory shot of the wave breaking in suffolk, it’s such a great moment to have caught.

  5. April 12, 2012 12:10 pm

    I love this post. This is exactly something I have been thinking about myself. Wondering why I take photographs of the things I do. Sometimes it’s just that, a visual inventory of the little bits I worry I might otherwise forget.

  6. April 12, 2012 3:06 pm

    so much work !

  7. April 13, 2012 4:06 am

    Fabulous post and excellent photographs! And thank you for pointing that Pawson’s book out for me – I’ll have to order one. I am very fond of his work – I’ve been many times a guest in the trappist monastery he designed in Czech Rep.

  8. April 13, 2012 5:37 am

    I’d love to be there, in the silence of woods.

  9. April 13, 2012 11:25 am

    As always, a deep sigh of goodness.

  10. April 14, 2012 10:37 am

    Evocative photos! They all make we want to plot right down in the middle and soak in the quiet.

    I’ve been exploring a similar snapshot approach on my blog, where I let one image with very little narrative tell the story of the entire home. I’m most interested in the transience moments – where the light is passing or a bouquet is waning – that portray the home almost as a living entity.

  11. April 19, 2012 7:44 am

    What gorgeous photos! I love the colour palette you’ve got in this series – muted, introspective. Beautiful!

  12. Jimjam permalink
    April 26, 2012 6:55 am

    Some of my favourite work from you

  13. Marina permalink
    August 2, 2012 6:11 pm

    I hike here often with my twins, but have never managed to capture the place like this! Beautiful and evocative. I must look into that book; it sounds interesting and inspiring. Great work here!


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