The odds of this happening

You had to be there

 A street corner in Pine Bluff, Arkansas

This potpourri of colors, lines, textures, and shapes must be observed at this exact angle to get what you see. Any deviation will yield a different image.

This image, while not destined for greatness, contains some textbook elements of design which might excite an artsy academian:

  • It has a primary palette of warm colors with a few cool colors tossed in for good measure
  • It has a nice mix of strong vertical lines with a few horizontal lines, just enough of them concentrated at the visual center of interest
  • It contains variety of shapes
  • It has an element tilted at a slightly cockamamie angle.
  • It has a duke’s mixture of textures
  • All of these elements are neatly arranged to bring you into the left side of the image, make your observations, and exit smartly on the right
  • And the arrangement is 100% accidental
A beer can and Bill

Click on the can to see another unlikely picture and story

Speaking of which, our sister publication, the Corndancer Photo of the Week, features a similar happy accident consisting of a beer can on a sidewalk with hand etched information nearby. Take a gander and we’ll wait here until you return.

The collection of urban hardware you see above lives on a corner which I observed for years from my former 6th floor office. I have also driven past this corner probably thousands of times without giving it a second thought. Fast forward to February 15, 2014.

The chain of events gets underway

I was meeting in the home of some friends I am helping with a project. They had invited other friends who were also participants in the project who would provide information to me. I determined that some of the physical pieces should be scanned and the visitors agreed. At the conclusion of the meeting, we all left the home and went to the physical location of the project, to wit: The Community Theatre in Pine Bluff, Arkansas.

When I determined that my usefulness to the other participants was exhausted, I excused myself to leave for other activities. Once inside the truck, I discovered that I had driven off and left the materials to be scanned at the home which was now securely locked. All of which means that I was compelled to sit in the truck and wait for the others to leave and head back home. That decision was made easier by listening to a broadcast of my beloved Hawgs in the process of shellacking LSU in a basketball game.

The pieces fall into place

As I listened to the game, I saw the arrangement above. I snapped a few, then backed the truck up a tad to get a better angle. Once I got back to the computer and took a look at what I shot, it occurred to me that for that light and that setup I had to have:

  • Gone to a meeting at the right time
  • Determined that I needed to scan some materials and took possession of same
  • Driven off to a second location and left the materials in a locked house
  • Parked in exactly the right place at the new location
  • Completed my presence at a second location and decided to leave
  • Discovered absence of the left items
  • Decided to wait in the truck
  • Looked up and saw the nearly perfect arrangement which you see above.

Now I ask you, what are the odds of all of those axes converging at the right time? Off the chart, one would presume, but the convergence occurred at the correct time. The next thing was to recognize the opportunity and do something with it. Then the scary part came. How many of those occasions have I failed to recognize? I don’t know, but not to worry. That which I just discover that I don’t know has plenty of company.

Thanks for looking,

Joe Dempsey
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind


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