These Three Photographs – Rust

Second in this new series of These Three Photographs, where I share, er, three photographs on a similar theme and say a little about them.

This time, rust.


This is not an unusual kind of scene, depending on the towns you hang around. Whilst most shop fronts generally remain respectable, quite often if you can find your way around the back, sights like this await. To me, eminently more beautiful that the public face of the building will ever be.

I love anything that looks weathered, or put another way, anything being incrementally yet relentlessly reclaimed by nature.

This was also an example where the camera was virtually irrelevant. A humble Canon Sprint I picked up amongst a batch of five or six compacts for £10 performing as well as any DSLR might in the circumstances. Certainly a lesson in there for me.

32977056566_cf72f345e2_bThe worn yet welcoming gate of one of the most local churches to me. I don’t go to church for services, but do visit often when they’re empty.

The combination of ancient architecture, and probably the purest silence I have experienced in recent years make them hugely appealing.

Back to the rust, this is the kind of subject I would like to go back and photograph on the same day every year for 20 years, then make a series. As I mentioned after the first photo above, I love the idea of nature taking back what it owns.


Rust is a great equaliser in that it hides the age and origins of objects. I couldn’t tell you whether these gravestone markers were 20 or 220 years old.

For something that’s already this far rusted, I could probably visit in a decade and see absolutely no discernible difference.

Often the colours are the most appealing part of rusting objects, but in this situation a grainy high contrast black and white look seemed to make most sense, and if anything enhances the textures even further.

Do you think I’m crazy seeking out rusted metal, or do you love the deliciously decaying textures and tones, and evidence of nature’s repossession as much as I do? Please let us know in the comments below. 

Thanks for reading. Please share this post with others you feel will enjoy it too.

6 thoughts on “These Three Photographs – Rust”

  1. What I think is most interesting here is the performance you got from the P&S Canon. You just never know when one of those anonymous black boxes is going to be a winner.

  2. Hi Dan
    For me rust has a couple of nice things going on that anyone can take advantage of… one is colour and the second is texture… on pic one…. close cropping of the centre including the label would give the viewer a clue as to what the photo is taken of even by not showing the complete door……but would highlight the colour more maybe…. on pic number two… love the “aged” latch showing the layering of rust making the texture pop…. rust is a excellent subject as it changes with time… and no two items look the same….it would be interesting to see if the moss on photo two “pops” more if taken in b.& w.
    Nice pics Dan..

    Rgds Lynd

    1. Hi Lynd, thanks for your thoughts. Yes the first shot of the door is a subject with rich pickings for a number of shots of different parts of it. I went for this composition because I like the shapes overall and the fans above, as well as the rust tones and textures. I don’t crop photographs afterwards, just one of my rules to keep me focused and try to make every composition work.

      I think the latch on the church gate would work very well in black and white and I’m sure one day I’ll revisit and try that. Most likely with one of those little Ricohs!

      Another general “rule” I have for photography is if I shoot with the intent of making a colour photograph, it stays colour, and the same with b/w. Even if I use colour film with the intention of making it b/w afterwards, I seek out compositions that might work best/better in b/w. Just keeps the options as few as possible and helps me focus.

      Thanks for visiting!

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