Working an angle: art, architecture, heritage and blogging

A Word a Week Challenge: Angle

Precise lines and angles: art or architecture?

Precise lines and angles: art or architecture?

Sue’s word this week is angle and I confess that in true journalist fashion, I’m using the theme as an “angle” to write about something I saw recently, that I think is very cool.

In Wellington recently, I walked to the top of Cuba Street to take tea at Martha’s Pantry. This cool little tea shop is on the corner of Cuba Street and Karo Drive and sits next door to Subject to Change, a sculpture by Regan Gentry.


Subject to Change; a sculpture by Regan Gentry.

Subject to Change is the steel skeleton of two walls of a heritage-type Victorian or Edwardian New Zealand building, such as used to occupy the site where the sculpture now sits – before that area was cleared in the construction of a new motorway.

According to Regan Gentry:

It looks like a slice of a building left behind by the developers…tenuously existing on the edge of the new motorway. It mimics components and colour schemes of the buildings that are or were around it, to integrate it within the historical and contemporary context of the area.

Detail of Subject to Change, by Regan Gentry


Detail of Subject to Change, a sculpture by Regan Gentry.

Subject to Change is beautiful. I saw it on a clear, sunny morning when the vibrant red of the structure stood out against the muted colours around it. It is strong and powerful and clever and a poignant reminder of the heritage we destroy in the name of progress.


Travel theme: pathways of light

Pathways is Ailsa’s theme this week at Where’s my Backpack.

Lighting the way; an installation at the New Plymouth Festival of Lights

I’m one of those people who focuses on the destination, not the journey; the goal rather than the process. I understand this about myself and accept it. I know it means I miss stuff but I’m ok with that. I figure I’m happy enough with who I am not to feel the need to change that particular part of my psyche.

So focusing on pathways is an interesting concept for me. Afterall, pathways exist to go somewhere and I have probably always been too busy thinking about that somewhere to capture the road I’m on. Then I found the photo above of an installation at the New Plymouth Festival of Lights. You could say that it’s connection with pathways is a bit tangential, and maybe that’s true, but it got me thinking about how light itself is a kind of pathway.By illuminating some things and leaving others in darkness, light creates a way forward – a direction.

“There are apparently few limitations either of time or space on where the psyche might journey and only the customs inspector employed by our own inhibitions restricts what it might bring back when it reenters the home country of everyday consciousness.” ― Tom Robbins, Jitterbug Perfume

The photo above was taken in Federation Square, Melbourne, in June 2009 during the annual Light in Winter Festival. The sculpture consisted of this series of columns each of which lit up at different times, in different colours. Arranged in a grid, the columns formed multiple, transient pathways, based on the timing or the colour of the lights. In this photo, the pathway could be seen to lead to St Pauls Cathedral opposite Federation Square on Flinders Street.

Churches have traditionally been a source of light – both actual and spiritual. Many different pathways can take one to church. I don’t really believe in God, but within the large, elegant churches of the more established forms of Christianity, I find peace and beauty and joy. I experience these things not because of any belief in a supernatural being, but because they represent some of the highest forms of human creativity; in architecture, design, painting, sculpture and music.

pathways of light church

On a wet and bitingly cold winter’s night, St Patrick’s Cathedral in Auckland is a place of sanctuary. A path of gleaming white leading to the sacred space within which music, ritual, tradition and visual harmony embrace believers and those of us who are content to celebrate the genius of humanity.

The religious music of John Rutter embodies for me much that is truly good in humanity; a pathway to joy.

Weekly Photo Challenge: in the background

Because you can never really hide the presence of the photographer

Because you can never really hide the presence of the photographer

Weekly Photo Challenge – in the background

I’d been thinking about this challenge a lot yesterday; planning some portraits I wanted to take. Then I went out with my son who wanted to shoot some time lapse pictures for a school project and I found myself standing on a motorway over-bridge – waiting.

When I snapped this, I was really only interested in how my phone would capture the movement of the cars. I didn’t expect to find myself (or at least my hair) in the frame. But it’s a reminder of how we author every work we create. Even photography which seems to show “reality” is composed and framed through our own unique lens.

One of the great pleasures of watching the films of Alfred Hitchcock is his appearance as an “extra” in a scene – reminding us of the great auteur he was.

Here’s a clip of some of Hitchcock’s cameos.

iPhoneography challenge: Black and White

This week the theme for the iPhoneography Challenge from LensandPens by Sally is black and white.

Sinton Road Bridge, Whenuapai, Auckland.

Sinton Road Bridge, Whenuapai, Auckland.

When the new motorway extension was built near where I live, it cut across a number of old roads and lanes, but at least has led to the building of this cool foot and cycle bridge joining the two ends of Sinton Road. It’s a great place from which to photograph the sun setting.

b&w photo of tom and bridge for lens and pens

The Whenuapai end also has this wonderful John Radford sculpture.

b&w photo of hobsonville sculpture

Weekly Photo Challenge: escape

I guess like a lot of people, my first response to this week’s Daily Post photo challenge – escape – was a vision of a tropical island (Tahiti probably). And we are in the process of trying to organise just such an escape for the next school holidays.

But while holidays on beautiful Pacific islands are a real, but infrequent form of escape, my first and best refuge has always been books.

stack of books

This photo isn’t of my all-time favourites, nor even the books I’m reading at the moment. It’s a pile of some of the books I have escaped into at sometime during my life. The size of the pile is determined by the composition of the photo, so don’t try to read more into it than that.

If I had the time (and all of the books) my escape photo would be of something that looked more like a hut made entirely of books. But I think that’s called a library.

Travel theme: beaches

Ailsa’s travel theme this week is beaches, but where I live you don’t have to travel far to find a great beach.

Here are some “locals” along with a couple of others from (not so recent) travels.


Late afternoon at Waiake Beach, North Shore, Auckland, NZ


Storm at Muriwai Beach, Auckland NZ


Ninety Mile Beach, from Cape Reinga. Northland, NZ


Tinline Bay, Abel Tasman National Park, New Zealand


Afternoon walk at Long Bay, Auckland, NZ


Summer sunset, Takapuna Beach, Auckland, NZ


Lake Kaniere, West Coast, NZ


Winter sunset, Muriwai Beach, Auckland, NZ


Waves breaking, Puna’auia, Tahiti. The island of Mo’orea in the distance.


Fale; Le Meridien, Puna’auia, Tahiti


Sunset at Le Meridien, Puna’auia, Tahiti.


The last fale, Le Meridien, Puna’auia, Tahiti.

Early morning at Lake Rotoiti, Nelson Lakes National Park, Nelson, New Zealand.

Early morning at Lake Rotoiti, Nelson Lakes National Park, Nelson, New Zealand.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Pattern

This week the Daily Post photo challenge word is Pattern. Since it’s co-incided with Sally at Lens and Pens theme of Macro, I’ve focused on the patterns in minutiae and taken all the photos on my iPhone. They’re edited with Ultimate Photo Editor Lite – just for fun.

Box grater: largest grating surface

“For a time I believed that mankind had been swept out of existence, and that I stood there alone, the last man left alive.”
― H.G. Wells, The War of the Worlds

Box grater: parmesan?

“Believe, and what was impossible becomes possible what at first was hidden becomes visible.”
― Tahir Shah, In Arabian Nights

Box grater: playing with Ultimate Photo Editor Lite

“To Succeed, you must reach for the stars, and let your imagination find its own path”
― Tahir Shah, In Arabian Nights

Box grater: still playing with photo editor

“If you kept the small rules, you could break the big ones.”
― George Orwell, 1984

Garden hose reel

“Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.”
― Arthur Conan Doyle, The Sign of Four

Garden hose reel: maybe this is what it really looks like?

Those who shun the whimsy of things will experience rigor mortis before death.” — Tom Robbins