Well before I got interested in photography, I always found myself drawn to empty spaces, to those quiet places. The ones most enticing are those found against the loudest of backdrops. They pull me in with their temptations of possibilities and of unheard and overlooked stories. It’s in the stillness which listening is best done.
In particular, I’ve found empty public seating to be especially interesting. I like to wonder about the innumerable people who have sat there. How many conversations were had and how many were just to pass the time and which had exchanges that changed the lives of those involved? What exciting news or heartbreaking announcements was spoken? Who sat alone, pondering life’s biggest questions?
In the last month, I’ve been internally processing a lot about life and my relationships. As I looked back at some photos, they have given me a reason to pause to remember and capture that moment, I found a theme arising of “open seating.” An invitation to sit, to have real conversations, and to be together was waiting there for the taking. I’ve missed and craved that deeper connection the places in these photos represent and offer, which drew me to share them with some reflections.
This scene is from a few years ago in Lucerne, Switzerland was taken around midnight. Almost nobody else was out walking around, which gave me a chance to capture the serenity of a well-lit tree-lined walkway lined with park benches all facing Lake Lucerne. The fall air was just warm enough to allow sitting outside with your thoughts but without a need for a sweater. I imagine this place in the daytime with city dwellers coming here to step away from busy lives to soak in the peaceful views.
There’s something about the boldness of color in a space to draw you in. Sit. Be. Be yourself.
The park bench scene evokes a sense of nostalgia for a simpler time where sitting in a park on a Sunday afternoon to take in the green space and fresh air was all you wanted. It also sparks a desire for a time I’ve not yet lived. It’s a time where I’m either older or have more time to wander and to reflect.
It’s also an intimate setting. While you share the same physical bench, it’s not uncommon to turn towards one another in conversation. The lack of anything between you further accentuates the sense of closeness and removal of boundaries in conversation and vulnerability of the heart.