Posted: October 30, 2016 in Bridges, Jones Island, Milwaukee, Photography, Railroads, Wabi Sabi

I am hopelessly and forevermore drawn to industrial settings for their hard and gritty look. Pile on some rust and railroad tracks, concrete and crumble, and I am a girl gone crazy in love with her surroundings. 

Lately, though, I have found myself playing with my captures, buffing out the gritty and softening the harsh. The results are one or two steps removed from reality and more evocative of illustrations in a child’s book than the original captures would be.

This is Milwaukee’s Jones Island, an aggressively industrial setting if there ever was one, but transformed here into a quieter, more gentle world.

If you are viewing on a full-sized monitor, the pictures really pop to that storybook look when viewed large.





  1. Lignum Draco says:

    Nice series. So why the desire to soften the wabi sabi of the photos?

    • That’s a good question and one that I think about quite a bit.

      Since photography is not the REAL thing (“Ceci n’est pas une pomme,” right?) and I am not a documentary photographer, I feel that I am free to wander away from an absolutely literal representation of a scene if it serves to have the viewer consider that scene differently or if it furthers my attempts to tell a story. In the case of this really industrial area, I think that by taking out the grit and harshness, I am also taking away some of…threatening? scary? dangerous?…overlay and leaving the viewer with a chance to find beauty in lines and colors that were there all along, but obscured by other factors.

      Wow…probably more than what you asked for, huh? If I buff that up a little, I could make an artist’s statement out of this answer. 🙂

    • Thanks.
      I need to back away from that late afternoon coffee, don’t I?

  2. Barbara says:

    You’ve captured the playful spirit of a structure I think of as “the LEGO building”, a favorite of mine in the Milwaukee skyline. I like this different dimension.

  3. andykidd says:

    Of course i love each of these. Not sure about the softening though – I am curious as to what was softened. No graffiti?

    • I say that I softened the look because that’s the feeling I was shooting for, but technically, what I did was remove as much noise as I possibly could without rendering the shots weird and lifeless. I use Photoshop, so it was a matter of sliding the Luminence marker as far toward 100% as I could.

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