Photography and Poetry as Rust

Blog / Produced by The High Calling
Door handle postimage 253

I stop the car, let it idle, and look around me. Not sure where one parks at the edge of a rubbish heap, I edge the vehicle into what I think will be a safe corner. Wellingtons go onto the feet. Gloves protect the hands. I make my way into the garbage. I saw what they dumped yesterday. That skip was full of beauty and it all landed here. I make my way through litter bags and foul smelling objects that have been dumped since the skip lost its contents.

I throw aside, look down, step to the right, toss to the left, pick up, turn over, until I find the layer that I had my eye on. I saw them tear down the house. I saw the objects pile up over days. It was the blue bowl that had caught my attention. It had a warm yellow edge with a tinge of rust. That was the one and I wasn’t leaving until I held it in my hands.

My eyes see the powder blue. The gloves scrape against the rusty, granular rim. This is why I came. Back in the car, I free my fingers and touch the metal giving way to oxygen and transformation.


Photography is like rust. It cracks open objects, reacting with its environment to create a different substance. Photographic subjects undergo a kind of oxidation when the photographer brings forth a new level of character and beauty. You need a fresh pair of eyes to really observe this.

And so, photography acts as a catalyst, changing both the creator and the viewer in the process.

Random Acts of Poetry

Poetry is also a catalyst. At Tweetspeak, we've been exploring the question, "What is Poetry?" and we've got some intriguing answers. Poetry is a net, a bowl, a loaf of bread. No one has declared that poetry is rust, but you could in a poem of your own. Post it with your photographs of rust, or post it alone. Say that poetry is rust, or say it is oxygen, or even chrome polish. We're game for where your imagination might take you. Share your link on the T. S. Poetry Press Facebook Wall, by Wednesday, September 21st.


All PhotoPlay and Random Acts of Poetry submissions will be listed at The High Calling on Friday, September 23. You might even get featured here, or at Tweetspeak, or at Every Day Poems!

Directions for this month’s PhotoPlay:

  • Photograph rust.
  • When capturing the image, use your macro setting or lens. Get as close as possible. Aim to highlight characteristics of the rust itself.
  • Create a set within Flickr.
  • Share your images with us by uploading them to the High Calling Focus Flickr Group by Wednesday, September 21st.
  • For more rust inspiration enjoy this gallery on Flickr.

Image by Darwin Bell. Used with permission. Sourced via Flickr. Post by Claire Burge.