A cord, a plant, a wall

'Tis the gift to be simple' goes the Shaker song. Japanese temple and rock-garden design follow this credo, as have many minimalist painters. Monitor photographer John Nordell was walking to his car after a recent assignment in Lawrence, Mass., when he spied this extension cord and sprouting plant. 'The plainess of the wall,' he says, 'highlights the elegant shapes of these common objects.'

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