Seeking out the beauty amidst the blah in life as in art

COFFEE WITH WARREN, with Warren Harbeck
Cochrane Eagle, October 20, 2016

The red maples in the lower photo taken in Centennial Park, Moncton, NB, are nearly lost in the dark wider context. Editing for image-within-the-image (upper view) offers a valuable lesson about life.
Photo by Rupert Tingley

I thought I had finished running autumn photos in my column for this year – finished, that is, until I received some magnificent maple-vibrant photos taken by one of our New Brunswick readers.

I met Rupert Tingley, of Moncton, NB, last year while he was in Cochrane visiting his son, James Tingley. James, a manager in the hospitality industry, subsequently moved with his family back to the Maritimes, but he gave us the gift of an amazing new email coffee companion who just happens to see beauty through his lens, and in people.

Rupert lives not too far from Centennial Park. While out for a stroll the other day, he came upon the glorious scene in the accompanying photos. Using his iPad, he snapped the lower shot and sent it and a few others to me.

His other shots were so much more immediately engaging that I almost passed over this one which was, to me, rather blah. The foliage was overly darkened by the brightness of the background sky; the lower foreground was cluttered with uninteresting details, such as the asphalt path and plastic sheets.

But then something caught my attention deep in the heart of this image. We played with it a bit in editing software, cropping the original to focus in on the deeper subject (as indicated by the dotted line), and adjusting brightness, contrast and colour saturation. The result was the nearly overlooked beautiful image-within-the-image at the top.

This opened an enlightening conversation with Rupert, a high-level manager of people in his pre-retirement years, about affirming each other.

“I have never met anyone that did not have some good about them,” he said. “Sometimes it is hard to find, but it is there. One of the hardest situations to deal with in management is to work with people who feel they have no worth.”

Yes, we agreed, to each of us is given the privilege of seeking out the beauty amidst the blah in the other person, and even surprising them with the discovery of the beauty within themselves.

Thanks, Rupert, for this wisdom.


© 2016 Warren Harbeck

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