Making a Mark – Urban Abstract Subjects

Marked
Marked
Playing with abstract subjects of tire marks and cracked concrete.

Looking for the Smaller Scene

Sometimes the most mundane urban landscapes hold the potential for the creation of interesting “urban abstracts.” I often look for abstract images that may say more about a place and try to simplify a larger, more complex scene by focusing on a small part of it. The resulting photograph can tell more of a story than one that includes the entire scene.

Streaks
Streaks
Black tire marks on the floor of the parking arcade in Nanaimo.

This weekend I explored the beautiful parking garage of the conference centre in Nanaimo during a break in an Island Photography Workshops event. I was initially attracted to the reflection of light in the concrete floor and the painted arrows and lines that I noticed on my way out for lunch and decided to photograph the arcade on my return.

Splat
Splat
All sorts of interesting stains and marks in parking garages. I could spend hours in here.

A Creative Exercise

It can be a challenging and creative exercise to make an image in a place that is not naturally considered a place of beauty. How to choose a subject? I started to work with the huge variety of tire marks and streaks of black on the pavement. Lines of all different sizes and textures led in different directions. Strange stains marked the grey cement. Cracks and blotches combined with the streaks and metal drains. The sheer number of different compositions was overwhelming.

Streak
Streak
More tire marks from the parking arcade in Nanaimo – lots of good potential at this location.

I used an iPhone to capture several urban abstracts—I think of them as rough sketches—and quickly edited the images with the Snapseed app. I like the results and think that this is a location well worth another visit. There are more stories to be discovered here, more marks to be read.

Quarter
Quarter
One more image from a series created from marks on the floor of a parking arcade. I liked the contrast in texture between the marked up cement and the metal drain cover.

2 comments

  1. I love these! They’re very intriguing. I’m heading to Vic this weekend so I’ll have to try it out. Thanks for the inspiration.

  2. It’s fun looking for images in ordinary places! Good luck, lots of good parking garages in Victoria. Make sure to check out the one with the musical staircase.

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