Angles, Lines, and Light, Revisited

A powerful weather system has been moving through the midwestern U.S., bringing snow in the north and tornado warnings further south. In the east, where I live, the clouds traveling before the system have created some strange light and conditions: the sense of something big looming. The clouds have come down to kiss the mountains. (That system, by the way, is predicted to hit my area Friday afternoon, possibly bringing us powerful thunderstorms.)

Under the opaque light of Thursday morning, I visited the Katz building on the north end of campus. I talked about this place in my March 6th blip, on my first visit there. The outside of the building had never seemed that interesting to me, but the interiors are absolutely stunning, all angles, lines, and light. I could lose myself here. Walk out years later like some kind of Rip Van Winkle . . . I have fallen in love with its lines . . . and the beautiful, beautiful light.

My prior blip featured a view of the ramp/walkway in the second-floor library, taken from the top of the ramp looking back down. This time, I walked around . . . and up . . . and found this lovely angle from the other side, via a stairwell overlooking the ramp. It's a sweet spot: any photo taken from that location will give you a picture that looks just like this.

I visited in the morning this time, and there was just one student studying at one of the blonde desks with a window overlooking the Arboretum. You can see his head near the lower right of the shot. This is a law building, so I imagine he might have been studying to be a lawyer. Good luck, young man . . .

A book and another item or two were lying on the desk of the study nook next to him, but I didn't see anyone sitting there, so perhaps the items had been abandoned. I'd rather they hadn't been there, as the shot might be better without them, but these imperfections make the scene real. This is how it was. I was there. It wasn't perfect, but it was beautiful. Isn't that life . . .

At the top of the ramp you can see a potted plant. I'm not sure if I think it is perfectly placed or totally out of place. If you walk up the ramp and around the corner to the left, there is a reading room with the best view of the stadium that I know of. What a place that would be to watch the July 4th fireworks spectacular that is held every year at Beaver Stadium!

I took about 150 photos during my visit, and I left with that happy feeling you get when you've had a photo shoot that went well. I felt like I had magic in my bag. In looking at the pictures later, I got excited all over again; found it difficult to choose a favorite.

In the end, it's all about the light. The light brighter by the windows, but dissolving into softness at the edges and behind the corners. There are a few shots I marked in my mind to go back and nab next time, so I can show you more of this amazing space.

I have been surprised, by the way, at how I have taken to this thing of photographing buildings on campus. I've done whole sets of outdoor shots, the exteriors. I've picked a few buildings - the library is a favorite - and showed you a shot or two: a courtyard here, a stairwell there. I am surprised that I, a nature girl, would like all this civilization and steel. But I do. I feel energized by this subject. I wish I had time to do more. What will I use all of these pictures for? I have absolutely no idea, but I can't help myself: I keep taking them, a woman obsessed.

The song to accompany this photo is Suzanne Vega's Straight Lines, from her awesome 1985 debut album, Suzanne Vega.

She's growing straight lines
Where once were flowers
She is streamlined
She is taking the shade down
From the light
To see the straight lines . . .
Straight lines

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