The title of this post is what you, the reader, are going to say after I reveal what the picture in this post is.
One of the assignments that I picked to complete this week was “That’s Not What I Expected”, a visual assignment. This is the description:
Take a close up picture of something as see if people can guess what it is. Try doing the skin or outside of something that would make it hard for someone to guess!
I’ve taken multiple pictures of things close-up before, both with my phone camera and a much fancier DSLR (my dad’s camera). My subjects have included wood (such as a deck or porch), rocks, leaves, and tree bark. I like taking tighter shots outdoors, because it fascinates me to see the details of nature.
Today’s photograph, however, was taken inside a building. That’s your first hint as to the subject of my close-up.
I’ll give you another clue: it’s not something often found in very modern buildings.
And the final tip: it can be found on the Fredericksburg campus of the University of Mary Washington. Multiple of them exist here, in fact.
I’m not sure exactly when I’ll divulge the information of what exactly this thing is, but my general plan is to see if anyone comments on this post with guesses. I’m hoping to reveal the name by the end of the month. The assignment didn’t tell me how or when to give away the subject of my photo, so I assume I’m at liberty to make that decision.
Although you don’t yet know what the thing in the picture is, I’ll still describe the process of how I chose it as my subject.
I had originally been planning on taking a picture of a brick. There are plenty of bricks around here on campus, so finding one wouldn’t be an issue whatsoever. Bricks are an unusual texture, so I thought that it could be a challenge to figure out. However, I knew that if I chose a brick, I wouldn’t be able to resist titling this post “Another Brick In the Wall”. Not everyone knows the reference (it’s the name of a Pink Floyd song), but it’s a popular enough tune that I decided that it might not be the best idea. Also, I would literally be giving away the name of my subject in the title of my post, which is definitely not what I wanted to do.
As I thought about different things to take pictures of, my eyes fell on the subject of the photo in this post. I didn’t want to pick something too obvious or too obscure, and though it’s certainly possible that you may not know what it is, you probably have seen one or heard of one before. This thing has been working on and off, which is a bit annoying. It was working earlier this week, but it’s not on right now. However, the one in my dorm bathroom has been really consistent (and before you ask, no, this is not a toilet or a sink). Also, I really don’t think very often whatsoever about the thing I’m referring to. My aunt and uncle have one (I think multiple, actually?) in their house, so whenever I see one I tend to think of their home. I chose it because it’s just unusual enough that you might not get it correctly on your first guess, and it has an interesting shape and texture. It’s a bit knobbly in some places, straight in others. I guess at this point these are all extra clues, but it’s interesting writing this knowing that you, the reader, don’t actually know what this thing is, while I am very aware of its nature.
Additionally, I wonder if, when you find out what it is, you will think back on my descriptions and go “Ohhhhh. Now I get it.” After all, hindsight can teach us a lot and make things obvious that were shrouded in mystery before.
Out of the three assignments I picked, I think this was the one least connected to the theme of our class (“What’s your story?”). However, I think that this shows a little of my sense of humor. I don’t know if you, the reader, perceive this as amusing and engaging, but to me it’s fun holding the knowledge of the answer to this guessing game and trying to give subtle hints. There’s nothing to lose here for either of us. My subject might not necessarily be funny, but in a way this feels like an exercise of looking beyond the screen to connect with another person. I could just as easily do this in real life; I could show you the picture on my phone or computer, you could guess at what it is, and after a guess or two (if you weren’t correct), I could tell you. If we were in real life, I’d likely be approaching it with a sense of playfulness. To me, this is something that adds to a story that’s more than just mine. The assignment involves other people—it wouldn’t be much of an assignment to just pick a thing, take a close-up picture of it, and be done. It is so much more interesting and even meaningful to have another person, or people, interacting with the photo. Ultimately, I think the assignment isn’t really about the photo itself; it’s about the connection between people over something that draws our attention and curiosity.