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Extraordinary Ordinary

By Clay Hadley

Anyone can take a photo of a beautiful landscape or an awe inspiring scene, but to me, the challenge came in photographing the ordinary and being able to strike the same chord that a beautiful landscape can strike. This is not to discount or put down landscapes or things of natural beauty, but rather to inspire looking at the seemingly ordinary with a new perspective. With this collection, I attempted to accomplish this fresh perspective through the lens (no pun intended) of architecture.

Alright, formalities aside, let’s get anecdotal. The inception of this collection was during spring of my senior year of high school. I was working on my AP photography portfolio and had yet to come up with an idea for my concentration. The two things I knew for sure were these: it would be shot on film, and it would be simple.

The decision of shooting on film was really nothing more than that was what I was already shooting pretty much everything on and it was what I enjoyed shooting most. Also, if we’re being completely transparent, I knew I’d get brownie points from AP judges because not a lot of kids would shoot their work on film; so yes, I played that card. I’m not proud of it. I wanted to keep it simple because it seemed like every sample portfolio my teacher had showed me was these elaborate ideas and deep concepts trying to be portrayed through photography, which there’s nothing wrong with, but it felt like everyone and their dog was doing “my deepest darkest emotions captured through portraits of my friends.” I should clarify, it is totally fine and awesome to express your feelings through photography, that’s great, it just seemed a little contrived and a little cliché. I just wanted to make photos that were nice to look at.

So, I had two things. I had film, and I had simple. Great. Now what? Well, I went to the place where all good things come from - reddit. Spending hours upon hours scrolling endlessly through r/analog, I figured out what made me gravitate towards a photo and it really came down to two things - limited color palette, and cleanliness. After thinking for a bit, I thought the best way to achieve these two criteria, was through architectural photography. Showcasing clean lines and the few colors used in most buildings seemed like a nice way of getting these ideas across. Finding photographers like Nick Mayo and Jake Debruyckere, really gave me inspiration for the shoot and gave me a better understanding of what to do to get the images I wanted.

This collection is the culmination of that realization I had last spring in my high school art class while browsing reddit in search of inspiration.

All photos by Clay Hadly

Follow Clay on Instagram: @clay_h


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