From Two Symmetries to Thirty Pieces of Silver

In our last post, we looked at a couple of Victorian symmetries.

Our eyes love and are attracted to the symmetrical.

We’re symmetrical creatures, so why not?

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When a door is not a door, Oak Bluffs, MA

As we walked the streets of Oak Bluffs a few evenings ago, we saw symmetries.

Then we started to notice details.


Looking through to the Campground, Circuit Avenue, Oak Bluffs, MA.

This town is full of details, details upon details. The Victorians loved ornate, loved pattern, loved busy. The industrial age provided the power and the tools needed to banish the simplicities imposed by time-consuming human-powered hand tools.  The cast iron scroll saw, water-powered, steam-powered, and foot-powered, ended the era of the plain board. Fences and railings became fields for detail, decoration, even for storytelling.


I looked up the history of the scroll saw, and it’s complicated. Would you believe that there’s a website called “scrollsawer (dot com)”? What website isn’t there, anymore?

Gardening in public spaces is popular nowadays. No more plain store windows. No more plain streets. Not around here. These photos were taken just after the Fourth of July US holiday. Flags had been tucked into a store window planter box.


Flag frippery for the Fourth.

Further down the street, looking into the shop windows, I reflected briefly on this town’s genesis as a center for religious “camp meeting” revival gatherings.

And there, in a window was Flowery Jesus.

I moved the camera to give him a hubcap halo.

It’s always surprising what a slight change in viewpoint can make.

Sometimes a quarter of an inch can make or break a photograph.


Flowery Jesus, Oak Bluffs, MA

One of the wonderful powers of photography is to freeze an instant in time. You can peruse your preserved image later, at leisure, and find details unnoticed at exposure time.

As I studied this picture later, only then did I notice the number on the price tag.

An apt amount, considering …

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