The Fallen Donut Paradigm

In Uncategorized on April 4, 2010 at 12:00 pm

Biking and photography: They’re the perfect marriage. Drivers can’t stop. Pedestrians move slowly. But a bicycle travels at the perfect speed.

On the first warm day of March, I biked from Point Breeze to Squirrel Hill to Greenfield to Panther Hollow to the Hot Metal Bridge to South Side to Mt. Washington to Downtown to the Strip District to Bloomfield to Shadyside to East Liberty, and then back to Point Breeze. With my camera in-tow, the trek afforded me all kinds of quotidian shots — shots that I’d long wanted to take, such as a spontaneously approaching train, the Incline ascending over a street, and several bits of graffiti I’ve long enjoyed but never documented.

Biking long distances in Pittsburgh, I can sample an enormous variety of images, and I can stop nearly whenever I want.

My favorite photographs are the ones that are “discovered” (encountered, rather than posed), and can’t be repeated. A landscape of Mt. Rushmore at sunset is fine and all, but it could be taken anytime.

A scatter of donuts, discovered on the corner of Herron and Liberty Aves., is one such photograph. As I leapt a curb on my Schwinn, I spotted the emptied boxful of donuts — dumped in the street between two parked cars. Where had they come from? Was this evidence of an altercation, or someone’s garbage tossed carelessly away? To the viewer, the pastries become protagonists in a mysterious narrative. We have only questions, which even the photographer can’t answer.


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