Having spent almost two years at Vanderbilt, I would say that I have become decently familiar with the campus. It wasn’t until this semester though, that I began volunteering at the greenhouse. I remember seeing it, during my first year, always wondering what it would be like to be up so high above the campus. Would I finally understand how it feels to be one of those problematic crows, flying from tree to tree? What would I see? Although I have spent about four or five Friday mornings at the greenhouse I never really did take advantage of the view. So this morning, I decided to make a special trip, in order to take a photo for this blog post.
One thing that caught my attention while reading Pamuk’s Istanbul, was when he described Melling’s Bosphorus paintings. He explained that “in Melling’s Istanbul landscapes it is almost as if there is no center” (Pamuk, 67). This fact, combined with the many paintings scattered through the chapter motivated me to take my own Melling painting-inspired photograph. Although the paintings are never at a direct bird’s eye view, there is a definite height and distance from the subject, hence my brief visit to the greenhouse.
Like Melling’s paintings, my photograph has no true center. Although there is a lot going on in this photograph, there is no focal point that the eye is immediately drawn towards. Instead, the viewer can slowly explore the landscape and take in the entire landscape. There are people walking along the pathways, but like Melling, I have not placed any “human dramas at the center” of my photograph (Pamuk, 68). One of the most important things that I did when editing this photograph via Instagram, was remove the color. Before, the red and green of the campus seemed overwhelming, there was too much to take in. But in black and white, there’s a sense of unity. Everything in the photograph has taken on equal value and meaning. Devoid of color, the photograph loses the vibrancy of life in color. Life is progressing in this photograph, but it is also frozen in a world of black and white. Through this paradox, the photograph gains the melancholy of nostalgia that Pamuk conveys throughout his narrative.