Welcome to the Essential Light Photography Blog By Jim Sabiston

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Found Objects

One of the most interesting things about being a photographer is the change that takes place in how one views the world. Instead of the usual mental state where one simply cruises through the day with a narrow, more-or-less self centered focus, everything suddenly becomes full of interest and potential.

One of the fun aspects of this heightened awareness is what is sometimes referred to as ‘found objects’. These tend to be those little, insignificant things that one would normally never really notice. However, within the mind of the creative and sensitive observer, these objects become endowed with presence and meaning. It is actually quite fun to capture these little things and to try and convey the presence or connection that I see in them. Whether the resulting images ascend to the point of being ‘art’ is not the point for me. It is, simply put, FUN! A whole new world of potential is opened up for exploration!

The primary requirement is that these objects are seen and then photographed untouched and ‘as found’. It is the fact that these objects are captured in situ that makes them interesting. The scenes are not constructed artificially or with intention - it is vital that they evolve naturally, as that is the aspect about them that speaks the loudest. The scene is a ‘found object’, it has come into existence through natural processes and chance. It is the job of the photographer to capture the object in such a way as to convey the story or statement that exists within it.

Sometimes, the interest lies within the object itself. Sometimes the interest is generated by the object and its relationship to its immediate environment that poses a question:
(click on image to enlarge)   Boots
Occasionally, it is the relationship of the object to some other point of interest in the immediate vicinity:
(click on image to enlarge)    Water, Water Everywhere
Then again, there are those little finds that lend themselves to an entirely different interpretation if one applies a little imagination:

(click on image to enlarge)   Memories of a Green World
These photographs are all part of a growing series I call ‘Sidewalk Stories’. All of them are found in and on New York City sidewalks. New York City is, almost literally, a continuous sidewalk network from the Whitehall ferry terminal on the southern tip to the edge of the Harlem River on the north end, with some 13.4 miles in-between. The potential for finds here is staggering! How many found objects wait to be discovered...


  1. Unusual and interesting images. I've always enjoyed photographing found objects. You show that good photographs can be made from the everyday and mundane.

  2. wondrous discoveries… seeing beauty in the ordinary lifts and opens our hearts in unexpected ways.