The Shoe Project

19 Mar

As I was walking to the entrance of my apartment building, I came upon an odd addition to the front lawn—a couple of pumps strewn about the roots of our friendly neighborhood tree.  Intriguing, I thought to myself, I must take pictures of this.  I forgot about the scene until later, when I pulled out my handy dandy point-and-shoot and began taking pictures.

The next day the shoes had disappeared, perhaps into the dumpster or maybe they were returned to their owner.  But it got me thinking—what is the back story on these shoes?  Who owned them?  Where were these shoes worn?  What was the girl (or guy—that would really be a story!) thinking about when she wore these heels?  Why were they discarded in such a fashion?  Is it a happy or sad story a mystery or a romance?  Yes, I thought all this about a pair of shoes.

Moreso, I can’t get the idea of shoes out of my head because shoes tell stories about their owners and about the places they’ve been.  So, I’ve planned out all these photo shoots involving shoes in my head, which means I need a lot of shoes.  And everyone has shoes they don’t need, right?  If you have a pair of shoes (or two or three) you’re not using, I would love to take those babies off your hands for my own artistic purposes.  Then when I’m done with the shoes, not only will you be a key player in “The Shoe Project,” but your old shoes will be donated to Goodwill.  If you can help me out, please shoot me an e-mail at  I may have more “shoe projects” in the future.

It would only be fair to share pictures of the shoes that started the whole thing, don’t you think?

Here they are, unedited, in their shiny glory.

But you know how much I love Photoshop.  The first one is diffused with low-saturation.  It looks like it could be evidence at some 1940’s crime scene.

I wanted to give this photo a cool blue glow, like  a modern-day Cinderella lost her other shoe in the forest as she was fleeing from the castle before midnight.  The blue represents the moonlight shimmering on the shoe.

This last picture has a warm glow, like it’s a pleasant day–warm enough for a gal to throw off her shoes and run barefoot.  Maybe she works a desk job and is blowing bubbles on her lunch break. I also gave it blurry edges and a diffused glow to have a fantasy effect.  Shadows/lighting were not edited.


No Responses to “The Shoe Project”

  1. Nelson González Leal March 19, 2009 at 9:11 AM #

    Interesting. True, these shoes have a story, regardless of who fits, or better, by all those that fit.
    I love working in black and white, I find stronger, more expressive.

  2. wiredtoinspire March 25, 2009 at 10:42 AM #

    This is a ton of fun. I have some shoes I could give you.

  3. Wendy May 8, 2009 at 8:49 PM #

    I love that cold blue one. It looks mysterious and a little sinister!

    Once time I saw a pair of metallic dorothy-slipper type shoes nailed to a tree and pointed in one direction. I think they were leading the way to somewhere. I have given those shoes a lot of thought over the years. I haven’t been back there in some time. I should go check to see if they are there!

  4. Amy May 8, 2009 at 9:42 PM #

    If you do, you totally need to send me a pic ( and I’ll post it!

  5. heatro December 18, 2009 at 4:34 PM #

    Near the University of Minnesota there is a “shoe tree”. There are hundreds of pairs of shoes that have been thrown into the tree over the years.

  6. Amy December 18, 2009 at 5:07 PM #

    @heatro Wow, are you anywhere near it? You can get me some exclusive pics. I must go to this “shoe tree”.

  7. heatro December 22, 2009 at 3:17 PM #

    Sure, I can stop by some time and take a picture or two. It’s too cold for me to wander around campus right now (these Minnesota winters are COLD), but I will definitely take a few photos next time I’m near it!

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