Thursday, March 19, 2009

An Image to Contemplate: "The Invitation"

The Invitation - Image c Lynda Lehmann


On a walk along Main St. in a town on suburban Long Island this week, my gaze was captured by this wrought-iron chair sitting sedately in front of an ivy-covered wall. I had such a profound sense of anticipation, looking at this, as if someone very important were about to approach and take a seat. If you were to use this image as a writing prompt, what would you come up with? What would "the invitation" be? And to whom?

It's truly amazing how an inanimate object can sometimes convey an attitude, or an unseen energy, or a quality of expectation. Do you feel this too, when you look at this photo?

I also loved the all-over texture of the ivy as a backdrop for the chair, and can see a metaphor for the personal versus the impersonal, or the subjective versus the objective. Maybe I can see the passage of time implied in the overgrowth of vines, while the chair seems to retain more of its original form, and be more stable. And then again, maybe not....

What do you see here?

Image and text c Lynda Lehmann. If you would like to view more of my art or make a purchase, please visit Lynda Lehmann Painting and Photography or my gallery at Imagekind, where you can choose from several sizes and paper types or buy my prints plain or matted and framed.

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32 comments:

  1. I see simplicity in design of the picture (as it should be), a texture background - and somebody has just left the chair.

    PS The wall serves as a jetty and as platform leading to the lighthouse.

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  2. Ah the marvelous metaphor of chairs! Whenever I see a chair in the environment no matter what the location or condition of it, to me it is a metaphor for human presence. I have seen several works where chairs were stand ins or portraits of people.

    Chairs also represent stability and intimacy to me. Depending on their design they can also evoke other thoughts and feelings. This chair looks fragile and feminine and invites attention.
    I guess you can tell I have a thing about chairs.

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  3. MARGARET - I think chairs are metaphoric, and so are windows and doors. Also, door knobs and some kinds of locks. I don't know why this is. Must be some kind of archetype in our collective consciousness.

    I haven't focused on too many chairs in the past, although I have photographed them before. But this one, so feminine and isolated against the spray of ivy, piqued my curiosity.

    We could have worse preoccupations, right?

    Thanks for stopping to comment.

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  4. Blogland is a wonderful place for inspiration. After I read your post this morning, I immediately started thinking about this attraction I have to chairs and their symbolism. I'm working on a post on this topic thanks to you. I have one piece on my blog where a chair is a prominent feature of it. More to come maybe... I enjoy the diversity of your posts.

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  5. MARGARET - That's great! I look forward to reading it.

    It's wonderful that we can share and inspire each other, even from far away!

    I may turn out to be chair-obsessed this season, as well, now that I'm thinking about it! :)

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  6. I see an invitation to stop and sit for a while contemplating the beauty of the ivy. I love ivy. It just has a life of it's own. Beautiful photograph too.

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  7. Oh my the first thought that popped into my head is William Wordsworth.

    I can just see him sitting there very simply but actually in deep thought.

    You are always such an inspiration Lynda.

    Now I am thinking of chairs, doors, and windows.

    Such simplicity yet it evokes so much pondering.

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  8. As an empty chair it may appear, yet so complete in the unseen merging of love as its backrest...

    whosoever designed must have tasted the nectar of the moment and so it is for the one who captured, dear lynda!

    wonderful!!

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  9. tangled stitch - I noticed this ivy had a bit of yellow in it--beautiful tones--and the leaves were delicate and etched with such delicate veins. I've often seen ivy that is much larger and more coarse looking. Different varieties, I guess.

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  10. SHINADE - I guess there's a lot of symbolism to be found in everyday life, especially for us romantics! I love the mystery of things, and examining metaphors feeds into this.

    Hope you've had a great time this week, with Walter being home!

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  11. MERGING POINT - I love your phrase, "nectar of the moment"!

    I tried to access your blog this week, but couldn't get on it. It seemed as if it had been suspended by you. Will be over to visit again, soon!

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  12. For some reason, I added a cup of tea to your excellent as it is composition. A cup sitting next to the chair...of course, I love tea, so that's not surprising. I add it to everything!

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  13. CONDA - A cup of tea for you, a tear-stained letter and a tattered red shawl for the part of me that's a romantic. (Too much heartbreak on the moors, ala WUTHERING HEIGHTS, and such, lol...)

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  14. wonderful!!
    lovely image Lynda and I think that the sitter would be delicate and refined ..perhaps a fairy queen or king....
    very interesting post and I loved reading the variety of intriguing responses..
    and..
    I could quite easily sit here and let my mind wander into a realm of infinite possibilities...
    ahh I must get back to the real world...*sigh*
    have a wonderful spring weekend Lynda :)
    I'm going to look at my chairs through different eyes now ;)

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  15. What a neat photo and great find!
    Park benches too seem to catch our eye. Wonder if we feel a chair shouldn't be empty?

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  16. KIM - The "realm of infinite possibilities" is infinitely more interesting than our everyday tasks, right? :) I guess that's why we become writers, artists, or photographers!

    I hope you are settled in, and into a good routine by now. And happily creating stage props...

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  17. Love the shot Lynda. But I see a scary arm coming from behind the bushes to pull me in,lol, I guess to each his own.

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  18. BOB - You're funny!

    I promise I won't let it get you...lol.

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  19. Thanks for stopping by my blog!

    This is is a great image. It makes me pine for my old garden! I'm looking forward to your future posts...

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  20. I love the chair! Simple and beautiful!

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  21. Kia ora Lynda,
    I see a lovely woman sitting down with a book of poetry. And birds, I hear birds.
    Aroha,
    Robb

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  22. Painter of Blue - I'm pining for warmth and anything GREEN! See you soon, on your blog and mine....

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  23. CARRIE - Thanks! I'll be over to visit soon. :)

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  24. ROBB - There should definitely be birds chirping and warbling in that setting. :) But I really didn't hear any. I guess that's because we were on Main St.--and the birds prefer to be a bit more surrounded by trees and greenery.

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  25. Great prompt, wonderful posts. I see a place to rest and contemplate my progress digging in the earth. Probably because that's what I'm yearning for. I love to garden.
    Usually doors catch my eye when I'm out walking, but you've added chairs to my list.

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  26. Hey Lynda :D!

    What a beautiful chair!! It invokes romanticism, doesn't it?

    "If you were to use this image as a writing prompt, what would you come up with? What would "the invitation" be? And to whom?" - I think I would write "Furtive Encounter" as an invitation to secret lovers who have to meet in a hurry, at night, afraid of being caught by someone.

    The chair against the ivy wall can also mean life vs death (life = ivy, death = cold [since it is still, it doesn't breath, it doesn't reproduce itself]).

    On the other hand when I look at the chair, more attentively, I am invaded by the sense of abandonment...the chair was left there because it invokes the pain of departure, the memory of an old love, of a past that will never return...

    Cheers

    P.S: you are back to the "old" comment section...eh?

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  27. KATHY - I'm not an avid gardener because of being involved in my art and writing, though I always love it and find it relaxing and calming when I do it. Unless there's poison ivy involved...lol.

    I enjoy hearing what objects other people find symbolic meaning in. It reminds me of college, when we used to sit in a circle, and discuss and DRAW interpretations of each other's dreams. It's fun to delve into our psyches to share our metaphors.

    I hope you get to garden soon!

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  28. MAX -

    I agree with you that the chair invokes romanticism, probably because of it's slender, attenuated, and feminine design. It looks delicate and fragile. Or delicate and empty, like a tortured, forlorn love affair.

    And I further agree with you on this: "I think I would write "Furtive Encounter" as an invitation to secret lovers who have to meet in a hurry, at night, afraid of being caught by someone." Maybe they used that chair to climb OVER the wall, lol?

    "The chair against the ivy wall can also mean life vs death (life = ivy, death = cold [since it is still, it doesn't breath, it doesn't reproduce itself])."

    I knew I could depend on you to come up with more meanings, Max!
    You are so thoughtful and intelligent--it's a delight to have met you on the blogosphere.

    And abandonment is there, too....

    I did change my commenting to a separate page, but it keeps switching back and forth. I think there's a short circuit in the software, somewhere! Theirs or mine...

    Thanks for coming to visit, dear Max! xxx

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  29. Lynda,

    "I agree with you that the chair invokes romanticism, probably because of it's slender, attenuated, and feminine design. It looks delicate and fragile. Or delicate and empty, like a tortured, forlorn love affair."

    Yes, a forlorn love affair...
    I can see a lady sat that rejecting her secret admirer's love: ohh, so painful!

    "And I further agree with you on this: "I think I would write "Furtive Encounter" as an invitation to secret lovers who have to meet in a hurry, at night, afraid of being caught by someone." Maybe they used that chair to climb OVER the wall, lol?"

    LOL LOL LOL for sure...because if you look at the chair, you'll see that it is a bit crooked (as if swaying to one side): it's like someone stepped on it several times...

    "I knew I could depend on you to come up with more meanings, Max! You are so thoughtful and intelligent--it's a delight to have met you on the blogosphere."

    Are you trying to make me blush? lol...thank you so much for your kindness, Lynda; I appreciate your support *bowing* :)! Aaah, the delight is all mine, dear :D!

    "And abandonment is there, too...."

    Yes...it is. Either way, that chair is full of history and stories to tells!

    "I did change my commenting to a separate page, but it keeps switching back and forth. I think there's a short circuit in the software, somewhere! Theirs or mine..."

    It does? Must be Blogger...they have been driving me crazy too.

    "Thanks for coming to visit, dear Max! xxx"

    It's my pleasure, fair Lynda :D! xxx

    Cheers

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  30. Lynda:

    Well...if you stood real still and were very quiet, you might see the ghost of Alistair Cook walk up, sit down on the chair, cross his legs, and introduce another episode from Master Piece Theater.

    Happy trails.

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  31. SWUBIRD - That's a good one! Hadn't thought of that scenario... :)

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