Essence of Man

Sometimes it is a little lacking in “maleness” around here.  For crying out loud even the dog, cat and rabbit are girls.  Only girls in this house, and girl things.  In some ways it is nice, having my own space and not having to share it, but sometimes you just like to see those tell-tale traces of “man-ness”.  So I take the camera and I poke my nosey neighbor nose into my Grandfather’s garage.  My eyes adjust to the dim light, feel the coolness of the concrete beneath my feet, take in the scent of wood and gasoline. I pick up the camera and I shoot……and then I sit, Pandora streaming me some sweet tunes, a cup of tea steaming in front of me, the glow of the computer washing over me and  I edit until the late hours of the night, trying to recreate the smells and the light and the feel of what reminds me of why I love this place so much, the sheer masculinity of it all.


My grandfather’s tractor, given to him by my Grandmother, she put a GREAT big bow on it.    He bought a new bright orange Kubota this year, but this old faithful remains his favorite.


It seems to me (or at least in my experience) you can walk into any man’s garage and find these things laying out on the bench, screwdrivers, pliers and a pencil, usually orange.

Man Things 3

I wonder how old these jars are and what they held.  Were the contents originally intended for my mother’s mouth, or my own?  What seems like a simple reuse now catches my eye and it looks more comforting, more beautiful than any jar or crate to be found in any store.

Man Things 1

This last one caught my eye as I turned to leave.  It was perfectly set up, I could not have done better.  The fishing pole angled, the weight dropping down, the crab pot and the tongs beside it, and the light pushing golden hues through the window.

Crab Pot

My father taught me to drive my first nail, how to hold boards securely.  My step-father’s shed housed the tractor and the piles and piles of wood that we had all stacked together.  My memories hold tight to a time when I  was leaning against a door frame watching my husband sketching and cutting and building.  But my grandfather’s garage, it is always the same, the smell of old wood, of gasoline and the faint lingering scent of Old Bay.



Filed under photography

15 responses to “Essence of Man

  1. nice work capturing those man tools. I especially love the jars. And, you are right – the lighting in the fishing pole shot is just right.

    do you mind me asking what mode you were in? (m,a,s,or p)

  2. I LOVE the photos…beautiful. I especially love the first one of the jars. My grandfather had jars holding his nails and screws, too…only he had the lids screwed to the underside of one of his shelves so he’d just unscrew the jar…use what he needed then screw the jar back onto the lid. Pretty good system! I do love a garage…my dad’s was always very organized…you could find anything you needed at any time. And I KNEW that if I used it I better put it back! Our garage is not the same…and it’s kind of hard for me to get used to. Maybe someday…

  3. blueskyhi

    I need girly-ness around here. I’ve got three boys (one aged 39 and a blokey panelbeater), I’ve got 6 brother-in-laws and no sister in-laws (even by marriage) so please please I need femininity around here.

  4. Beautiful writing, and beautiful photos. Before my daughter was born, I was sometimes a little overwhelmed by all the “masculinity” in the house!

  5. Beautiful…all of it…

    My grandpa had a similar dustpan…and the jars of fixtures…and he wore Old Spice. I miss him…

  6. Love the jars. I too have a thing with keeping jars and finding new uses for them.
    The photos carried me to a garage from my childhood – Grandpa Claude. He wasn’t my grandpa but I called him that. He was a neighbor man. His garage always smelled of oil and pipe tobacco.

  7. I love that your grandmother bought your grandfather a tractor, and even love more that it is still there. What a special photo, …all of them.

  8. Oh so love the jars! Reminds me of my grandfather’s work bench too. I love a good workbench..

  9. denise-i was in manual mode, that was what we were supposed to be working on this week, working manually in different light situations.

    shutter speed and aperature, waaaayyy down, it was dark in there.

    the jar pictures i had to bring the exposure up, and then i cross processed in editing. the rest i didn’t have to.

  10. jacobatthewell

    You can see decades of tightening on those worn sea-glass screwdriver handles. It all reminds me of Walt Kowalski’s garage.

  11. i am really enjoying your photos and the stories that go along with them! Thanks!

  12. Hello there!

    Thanks for your comment tonight. If only we lived closer, Jeff would definitely come and help you with your dresser!

    I really liked the photos you took of your grandfather’s garage. Especially the photos of the jars. I would love to know what used to be in those jars as well. They have a history, don’t they?

    Have a lovely evening.


  13. Just beautiful. My Gramps had a garage like that too, with the jars screwed to the boards like Michelle’s did. My husband inherited most of his tools and I have to tell ya, I get choked up sometimes when I see him with his old plane, or screwdrivers, but I’m so glad I still have them.

  14. Pingback: Environmentals: Photo Assignment #2 « Under The BIG blue Sky

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