With a double whammy of the stomach flu and head cold, my noodling around was limited to photo file adventures for two weeks. I poured through hundreds of photos of mostly San Francisco, with pictorial forays to Portugal, Rhode Island, South Carolina and various Bay Area sites. Among the predominantly architectural views, blurred action shots and the occasional inside-my-purse snap, were a large number of photos of items found at my feet.
I feel lucky discovering such little treasures. I don’t necessarily look for them, but I’m aware enough to find them wherever I noodle. There are 3 main categories: etched words, embedded objects and stenciled images.
San Francisco is blessed with beautiful weather (no, not like L.A kind of weather) and since there is no snow shoveling it allows for artistic expression underfoot, without fear of breaking tile work. They can be found all over the city, if you just scan the sidewalk as you go instead of staring at the phone screen.
Some argue that writing in concrete is the same thing as graffiti, while others consider it word-art - both being a form of self-expression. Personally, I like finding intentions and humor scratched in the sidewalk. It’s like having a note passed to me in class. A shared secret.
Embedded objects sometimes require that I stop and bend down to see the detail. I like the intimacy of self and object while in the midst of a busy city. I guess it’s my urban equivalent of stopping to smell the roses.
The stenciled images always make me smile.
They are the transitory ones that pop up and fade away seemingly overnight,
making a regular route a little extra special.
So here is a small selection that hopefully inspires you to look down at the sidewalk every once in a while. Consider it the under-canvas of museums, just waiting for consideration. And exploration.