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  • Melissa Knowles

Symbols & Street Photography

The mythologist Joseph Campbell said, "Myths are clues to the spiritual potentialities of human life." And the symbols within these myths convey deeper meanings and themes beyond the literal, surface meaning. These symbolic meanings can vary from culture to culture but ultimately help us find a way to understand and relate to the world, and shape a personal mythology or story.

So what if I consider the commonplace in my every day as holding symbolism, something beyond the surface-level action or appearance? I am attracted to street photography for this very reason. Suddenly the ordinary can become a container for something infused with deeper meaning, with spirit. I might not be able to grasp its meaning always, but I am aware of its mysterious presence.

Take this photo of a basketball court. I've seen this thousands of times; it is as ordinary as anything. Yet, it has also absorbed the textures of children's experiences. Every crack, every scuff mark, every faded line on that court is worn with the stories of others and has inspired the stories of others. Every crack, every scuff mark, every faded line is a symbol of something just a little more.

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