‘Twas the Night Before Xmas, Reindeer People

By: pbcmedia

Dec 24 2008

Tags: , , , ,

Category: Art, DRIVING PHOTOS, nature


Focal Length:35mm
Shutter:1/0 sec
Camera:Canon EOS 5D

‘Twas the night before Christmas and “negative space” is the theme of SAPCC.  Last week was “sin”.  I think we may have a group of theme givers who are determined to ruin that holiday spirit.

But, fear not.  If you are a fine artist, you know this term does not mean anything bad or ominous for “negative” space is everything in a painting that is not the subject of the painting.   Ah, these fine artists are also very fine wordsmiths with that bi-polar spin.

Last year, I had actually exhibited a photo collage I titled “Negative Space” which can be viewed HERE and is guaranteed to solar plexus any Christmas spirit right out of you so it is not required viewing.  I’m not even going to look at it. (The spin I used was literal, a spin on the “space” word and clearly NOT the fine art truthiness)

And, this week, I also had initially thought to define it more literally in choosing a particularly run down one story home that is falling in on itself, totally crumbling, and, yet, all the while a Naughahyde arm chair sits out in front of it as if someone has just gone to the kitchen to get a beer.

Then,  I took a photograph of Christmas lights strung or “thrown” over a home and its hedges and thought I might use its dazzling colors and surrounding “blackness” to illustrate the joys of “negative space” on the day before Christmas.

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you’ll recognize it as another in the “Behind the Wheel” series.  Click HERE to view and this one is required viewing because it illustrates clearly the importance of  “negative space”: the lights are the subject, the “blackness” everything else.

But, I have chosen this photograph taken later in this week, late in the day following a major snow storm, to illustrate the theme.  In addition to the familiar subject of this ‘Behind the Wheel” series: the road and the effect of motion seen in the trees on either side of the road,  it is now clear that it is often the sky,  technically speaking “the negative space”, visible between the trees that make these photographs interesting.

if you look at some of my others, listed here:



You’ll see that  the sky is as important to the the photograph as the subject: motion.

So, from this perspective “negative” does not carry with it a “minus” sign.  In fact, a + sign is necessary to qualify negative space in general.  Art and Life with a capital “L” are dependent upon it.

On this Christmas Eve 2008, wherever we are–freezin’ our backsides in the northeastern United States or sweatin’ them off in Australia and St. Croix, I wish you all, my new friends who have brought me so many little gifts of encouragement and laughter, every day through this, the beginning of my fourth season of blogging, I thank you like a five year old for the magic.

So onward we go then!  Onward, reindeer!  Dasher.  Dancer.  Donner and Blixen.  And, you there, reindeer people, up and onward:  Bonnie. Razz. Sanity. Amber. Tysdaddy. Tipota. Pomeroy. Ross, Mt. Brooks, Russ, Sweetiegirlz, Conni, nkgee, niece Alice. Cousin Mary. Sannekurz. HJ. Epicurienne. Turkish. Palpinao. Chris. Smack. S.Le. Nava and new friends, Ulla and Cheryl and to all those who lurk and do not speak, I hear you in the numbers.  Maybe in ’09 we’ll hear your name?  I hope so.

And, to all sweet people, (as well as to me, but I can’t call myself sweet, can I? Oh, hell, yes I can!),  I wish us a positive use of our negative spaces .

And,  of course, deer people–to all, a very creative good night.

©Pat Coakley 2008


Other SAPCC contributors:

Mt. Brooks






9 comments on “‘Twas the Night Before Xmas, Reindeer People”

  1. Great, clever, all things Pat. There’s light at the end of the tunnel. And we’re all on the drive.

    When you review the photos that you post, do you remember the process by which you came by the image? Digital vs. film = hundreds of shots.

  2. Another excellent shot. Your “blurry” photos show more life than I think can be captured by straight sharp photos. Keep it up and I’m sure you’ll have enough great images for an exhibition.

    I look forward to seeing what you have in store for us in the future.

    Have a great Christmas and be careful on the roads!

  3. Did I say it before? You scare me . . .

  4. Bonnie, I have partial recall of shots, particularly sequences of shots. But, you are right, the hundreds of shots makes the precise memory flaky, not that I needed anymore of that quality! Thanks.

    Razz, your comment is interesting and as I’m working on a whole series about the reeds that border the pond near me, I think that is the pull the series of shots have for me: all are partially in and out of focus. I find that visual to be, and this sounds funny, but I find it to be truthful, and in the case of the reeds, beautiful as well. Thanks!

    Oh, Tysdaddy! I am careful, really I am. I’m not looking through the viewfinder, my eyes are on the road! I haven’t scared anyone with my adventures for years!! I sorta like this.

  5. Pat this is the best piece I’ve seen from your behind the wheel series. I’ve been trying to think of a term to describe this genre of photos. Chronological expressionism? I’d like to elaborate more on this later. It is deserving of a term, as there are repeated essential characteristics that make them distinct and special, but related. At the moment though I’m off to see Buffalo’s old grain elevators.

  6. I can’t match Chris’s eloquent musings, so I’ll just say…I like it.

  7. Chris, I’m very interested to know what you know about this “genre”. I, honestly, did not know it was a genre. Are there photographers I might be able to go and look at their work to see the similarities? There are other nutjobs behind the wheel? Anyway, thanks.

    Mt. Brooks, I’m with you, I’ll just say, “thanks”.

  8. I’m sooo behind the power curve on comments…sorry. I love the airbrushed effect of nature here. I love that warm glow of light on the horizon urging the traveler onward to hot coffee and cinnamon buns. It almost makes me want more snow…almost. haha. It’s 58 degrees here today.

  9. I picture your steering wheel with a notch in the bottom where your knee goes. You must be an amazing driver to be able to pull out so many beautifully mystical shots at the wheel. My santa hat is off to you. Your trees are spooky, yet calming. I love it.

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