Rose Ramble: Reflecting on Larry Rose’s Photography

Larry Rose’s work after a long career in commercial and editorial photography has been taking on a decided fine arts hue in recent years. His everyday wanderings from his home base in Redlands, California include the mountain-desert-beach venues that sit in a more or less equidistant, 45-minutes-to-everywhere triangle from him and his Nikon. But it is the attention he pays to what I would call “the kingdom of the small and ordinary” that distinguishes his work even more than the lush landscape we see above.

Tiny sprigs poking assertively through the knothole of an ancient fence; rusty drainpipes and random metal shards long wedded to a slightly crumbling brick building; a newer and sleeker brick wall hosting a perfectly outlined (though partial) bicycle, projected only in afternoon shadow. (I’m tempted to launch into musings on Plato’s caves while beholding this shot, but I shall refrain…)

These are among many images of Larry’s that speak to the quiet sanctity of the things we blithely pass by, minute to minute, all through our frantic days. Photography like this elevates everyday sights and everyday things to both vastly more than they are while also showing them to exist exactly as they are, in all their starkness, humility and silence.

And stairwells upon stairwells, oh my—M.C. Escher done one better by Larry’s quick absorbing eye that captures the details of ascendings and descendings in an earthy physicality of concrete and iron, framed by the ephemera of ever-changing shadow and light. We use stairs in order to get somewhere, but Larry’s stairs invite us to pause, linger and marvel before we begin. Truly, to capture this lovely moment in time and light with our own eye rather than through Larry’s camera would be the essence of “enjoying the journey” rather than focusing on our destination alone.

“Pay attention, look, here, now!” the Universal Muse advises us, whether she speaks via the tongue of Buddha or Jesus or your elderly neighbor arranging the tiny flowerbed off her third-floor balcony. Great photography like Larry’s does the same if we have—or can develop—but eyes to see.

Photography © Larry Rose, all rights reserved. For reproduction in any medium, contact: larry@rosefoto.com.