Starbucks: Pine Ave : Long Beach

The morning is overcast and we met again at the Starbucks in Downtown Long Beach. Although we try and hit a different location each time, this spot seems to just have so much going on around it and there are many directions we can head from this starting point, which leads to something different every time.

We got a coffee and went to the top paper in the stand to get our inspiration for the shoot. The seventh page: the second word: seal.

Although we could think of a few meanings for the word, we looked it up any way just in case there was something we were missing:

1: something used to join two things to keep them from coming apart.
2: wax or other material, stamped and used to show where a document came from.
3: something used as a confirmation or guarantee of something.
4: a fish-eating aquatic mammal.
5: a member of an elite force in the US Navy.

We could take this in a number of ways, so we decided to head out and see if there was anything around that would help us create a visual for any of these meanings.

We almost instantly found things that could represent our inspiration: pipes sealed off, fire hydrants’ openings sealed up tight, tape bringing together different materials so they don’t come apart.

sealing in actionAbout 10 minutes into our shoot we found a couple painters using masking tape to seal off part of a building with paper and plastic. We thought this was our shot: something actually in the process of being sealed. We shot it and joked that we could be done now – after all it’s an unusual piece of street photography. But we knew that there could be something else waiting for us around the corner. We had to let the minute:72 creative process take place.

We walked blocks and blocks and found many more examples of things that were sealed – all which could represent our inspiration for the day. We knew that we would have some editing to do on this one. And sometimes we see different things when we come back and look at all the images together on the screen.

After some time away due to some work that had to be done, Eric and I both looked at the images again quite a few days later. With a fresh eye, we saw things a little differently than we did when we were shooting. There were more images that could work than we initially thought we had. But one image stood out more than the rest to us – it wasn’t even one of the images that we thought was a hero when we shot it.

There was a manhole cover in the middle of the sidewalk. As expected, one sees a manhole cover as sealing up a hole in the ground. But what was unique about this one was that, although it sealed the hole, there was an additional seal over that when someone added asphalt on one edge to cover the uneven ground nearby. This totally showed sealed on multiple levels and pushed this image in the hero spot to represent this day’s minute:72.

minute:72 : seal