Umbrella: Lost, Alone

Umbrella 353, creatively positioned to make a statement. But what?

I have a problem. It’s an ongoing concern and, to be honest, there aren’t a lot of folks I can talk to about it.

I seek out abandoned umbrellas you see. I don’t, like, base my day around it but I have been known to alter my route knowing a ‘dead brolly’ hotspot is on that street, not this one. Think transit exchanges, trash bins near bus stops, hedges close to institutions. That kind of thing. The day after monsoon rain and blustery wind shows a curious trait in people — they just toss their shelters when the weather improves.

I yearn for the time when a strong gust flips a random stranger’s umbrella inside out, their frustration mounting as the wind takes control, the rain now completely soaking their head. They whip their admittedly flimsy dome about, finally climaxing in a moment of sheer anger — the poor umbrella is tossed to the gutter. Me? I am standing across the street, camera ready with a motor drive whirring away. This fantasy, it’s elusive. I was close just once.

Since 2005, I have been capturing these lost, alone umbrellas on city streets. Mostly here in Metro Vancouver, but I have ‘bagged brollies’ in Havana, Amsterdam and NYC as well. Some are completely in tact and some person with an even greater obsession might collect these for some repurposing. Some are mere skeletons, the flesh as it were long destroyed by the same elements that first made it attractive. Occasionally I find just a handle or a macabre art installation involving all manner of urban debris. Oh the stories they can tell.

I recently updated the collection and shockingly, I’m at 366! Figured a book would need to happen at 365. Stay tuned for that (or get in touch, publishers!).

Please enjoy the fruits of my strange collection to date: Umbrella: Lost, Alone

Umbrella 239 out in a field, doing it’s useless thing on a sunny day.

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