Looking Down, The Series

By: pbcmedia

Aug 28 2008

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Category: 1, Creativity, Environment, Humor, Personal, Photography


Focal Length:85mm
Shutter:1/0 sec
Camera:Canon EOS 5D

Look up. Look up. Cloud lovers and self-help gurus tell us.

“See” your future first, then take practical steps to make it your present.

But, what if clouds are in the way of “seeing” your future?

Whaddaya do about big ol’ banks of puffy, thunder clouds gettin’ in the way of your friggin’ future, self-help smartypantaloons?

You know what I do?

I look down.

(Although, no finer example of why one should look up to the sky when you are walking along is on Razzbuffnik’s site today. Seriously, are clouds and sky in Australia different from this hemisphere or is it that they have better photographers??)

Anyway, I am a looking down sort of girl. Can’t help it. I did a series on asphalt art a while back. The result of walking in parking lots in an industrial park near my house and noticing the patterns in the asphalt.

Recently, it’s been time spent looking at manhole covers. This one is my favorite so far.

Is there anyone out there I can cajole into going around their neighborhood and taking photos of their manhole covers?

I’d like to see if there is a world wide problem with manhole cover design or whether it’s just in my neck of the woods.

Because, In general, I’m finding they are not exactly inspiring surfaces. I am surprised quite frankly that they haven’t been “branded” for commercial purposes. The John McCain Real But Old Man Hole Cover. Or, the Hilary 18 Million Men but Mostly White Women Man Hole Cover. (Sorry, politics is on my mind). Think about it, we all see manhole covers in the course of the day but in their present state, we don’t pay much attention.

But, throw a swatch of color here or there or an unusual pattern? Hey, we could fight childhood obesity by having vegetables carved into manhole covers! Just a thought, people. Lookin’ Down people have imaginations, too, you know. It’s just not those cloudy puffy people.

Anyway, I think if we started a campaign to put imaginations to work on manhole covers, we’d become a universe of looking down people.

No offense to cloud people, but, c’mon, you’ve had us captivated since the dawn of man with your puffiness.

It’s time for the “Lookin’ Down” people to rise up! Oh, er. Sorry, rise down!

Who’ll post the first manhole cover in response to this challenge?


A simple manhole cover from your neighborhood to start the bidding?

Going once….



No self help gurus can join the “Looking Down, The Series” cuz I know you are going to try to get us to look up. Nothing doing. You’ve been around since the dawn of man, too, and the world’s in a total mess so it’s time to give the looking down people their fair chance to mess things up.

Fair’s Fair. Or, let me look out the window.

Fair to partly cloudy.

©2008 Pat Coakley


20 comments on “Looking Down, The Series”

  1. ““See” your future first, then take practical steps to make it your present.”

    Or how about “be here now” instead of futurizing.

    It’s good to look up at the sky every now and again, to lift our minds up from the task of merely guiding our feet and just plodding around. Then again, once in a while, one finds a beautiful manhole cover or avoids stepping on a dog turd.

    As soon as I saw your shot I thought to myself that I’d like to paint it bright lurid colours or perhaps grind the raised parts so they shone against the rusty lower parts.

    It sure is a nice object that I’d love to play around with.

  2. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a manhole cover with a rope handle on it! Also, manhole covers are usually round so people can’t lift them up and drop them down the hole. (I read that somewhere)

    I will examine my neighbourhood manhole covers. No tricks or funnies this time. No pictures of men’s underwear either. I’m on a mission! … again!!!

  3. Now that you’ve lifted my awareness, I’ll have to look around and see if we have manhole covers on St. Croix.

    I learned the word ” culvert ” living here, which is where the excess water runs after the rains. but I don’t know if we have any underground workings to cover with Manholes ( it’s a name that makes me laugh at it’s incongruity…)

  4. I sincerely would but then I would have to write a post about man holes and you would be all over me again for not being me. ;-(
    I will next week, I promise… Although I kinda like not being me. I can be me more than ever! I know this is disturbing. To me too.
    Next week!
    Also sorry about the confusion with the new baby. I knew that!

  5. […] “Looking Down, The Series“ a challenge was […]

  6. Believe it or not, the uninspiring manhole has indeed inspired me to the point of not only coming out of lurk mode and commenting, but actually participating.

    It is true.

    If you wish to view it, my response to your challenge can be found here

  7. In reverse order:

    L: welcome and I’m so happy manholes did the trick and got you out of lurking mode! I can totally relate to something as uninspiring as manhole covers becoming intriguing. I’ll go and check out your response after I finish these comments. Again, welcome! We always need some some additional wisdom and world views here.

    Nathaliewithanh: Well, I’ve just left you yet another skunk at lawn party comment apparently at the same time you were leaving your comment here. So, we are least in synch on that!! Another week! Good lord. I’m going to visit a cemetery today and try to channel the ol’ nat.

    BL: you know this is interesting. The geology of an island. Perhaps, things have to be above ground? But, there are so many utility conduits that a culvert just wouldn’t make sense. I’ll look forward to seeing what you find out. I love looking for something that is always overlooked!!

    Cheeseman, I have full confidence that you shall discover a manhole cover worthy of planetross. This one is round (in the picture) but I liked the patterns close up so chose to photograph it as a rectangle!

    Razz: I knew you’d like it. Ah, the possibilities.

  8. People! Just visited “L’s” response to the manhole cover challenge. Check it out. It’s got everything! Attitude. Photographs. Humor and Philosophy! It’s an example of why I love blogging. And, her sewer man hole cover is actually quite beautiful. I’m not kidding.

  9. i love this idea of the manhole covers as art, as i remember, there are a lot of good ones in chinatown area in and around stuart street, around here they are like grates not round but i guess that won’t matter-i’m on it this is fun

  10. Tipota, I may be in the city over the weekend! I’m going to go to Chinatown and look down! This IS fun.

  11. “Is there anyone out there I can cajole into going around their neighborhood and taking photos of their manhole covers?” Hmm in general they are stolen due to the fact that the government sponsored steel “chop shops” pay so dang much *note to self research options of starting man hole syndicate*

    I shall look, search and find

  12. Lucky you looked down or you woulda tripped on the rope.
    I’m up for it, I’ll look around this weekend for some to post.

  13. BTW in this modern politically correctly speaking world, shouldn’t they be “personhole covers”

  14. Okay Pat, I’m going to check out the manhole covers in Vietnam for you! Watch this space. May take me a while to get the photo to you – not much time to access internet at the moment – but will speed it off to you as soon as I get home.
    Hope mini Spidey doing well in the Big Wide World.

  15. […] triple note: another great idea from Pat Coakley at Single for a Reason. […]

  16. I was gunna get some photos but it’s been raining lately,
    Captain Procrastinator says: “I am still gunna do it…. Eventuallyyyyyyyyy”

  17. Tony beat me to the manholes. But I finally did one Pat. http://www.sweetiegirlz.wordpress.com

  18. […] inventing new homework for us all with astounding regularity. One of her recent challenges was photographing manhole covers. At the time I took up Pat’s challenge, Monsieur and I were in Nha Trang in Vietnam. Easy […]

  19. […] This group raised my awareness of manhole covers.  The Looking Down Series. […]

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