Some of the images I’ve collected are captivating (to me anyway), not because of the statuary or the shrine itself but because of the aesthetic qualities of what they are surrounded by, which can be random, such as chairs on an adjacent front porch, a brightly colored front door, or the contrasting textures of building materials such as brick, clapboard, trellises and fencing.  What matters, to my eye, are the possibilities for visually interesting or humorous compositions.


I especially enjoy encountering shrines in contexts that are atypical idiosyncratic, or just out there.


Some yards inspire me to make up stories to account for what I'm observing. Who and what are responsible for the condition of this shrine?

Why are statues missing from their shrines, especially when the home and yard are otherwise well taken care of? Perhaps a statue was taken in for the winter, or for a repair, and not yet returned to its perch. 

Or maybe something bad happened to the statue (I’ve heard of thefts) and the cost of replacement was simply too high.  Who knows?


Sometimes I just like the clutter....

...or the way the statue relates to the adjacent house.

Visual interest also comes courtesy of changes in natural world: the intense quality of the light at the moment the photo was taken; the vibrant reds, pinks and yellows of blooming flowers, the deep greens of high summer, the play of sunlight on the colors of mulch or shingles.

Sometimes there's a certain presence to the statues themselves that I find beguiling.


And finally, no photo collection of Somerville shrines in context would be complete without a photo of Somerville's other signature feature of the city's built environment: the dense webs of electrical wire–that have led some wags to call our overgrown light poles "the official tree of Somerville."