Grass and sky. Toe toe almost silhouetted against the afternoon sky. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015. Shot with iPhone4, edited with Aviary Photo Editor.

Grass and sky. Toe toe (cortaderia fulvida) almost silhouetted against the afternoon sky. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015. Shot with iPhone4, edited with Aviary Photo Editor.

Toe toe (sometimes spelt toi toi, and known to generations of Kiwi kids as “cutty grass”) grows prolifically around the Auckland coastline. Yesterday afternoon I spotted this clump against a beautiful cloud formation and couldn’t resist stopping to grab some photos. Although it was the feathery silhouette that initially drew my attention, close-up I also liked the colour contrast between the yellowy-gold seed heads and the green foliage. A little editing enhanced this.

1Photo

Colour-enhanced with Aviary Photo Editor. Photo: Su Leslie, 2105. Shot with iPhone 4.

It wasn’t until later I realised I’d shot some similar images at the weekend during an early morning walk at nearby Hobsonville Point.

Toe toe silhouette; early morning at Hobsonville Point. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015. Shot with iPhone4, edited with Pixlr Express.

Toe toe silhouette; early morning at Hobsonville Point. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015. Shot with iPhone4, edited with Pixlr Express.

… which made me think about how iconic (though I really don’t like that word) toe toe is within the imagined landscape of this country. Paintings, photographs, even movies and TV shows use shots like these to evoke both a sense of place and a mood. The shot above is barely edited; the world really was golden that morning. The shot below, however, is dream (nightmare actually) given form.

My dreams are always cinematic. They are intensely visual, and constructed according to the conventions and visual language of film-making; complete with zooms, close-ups, cross-cutting and tracking shots. In one old but recurring dream I am walking along a sand spit at dusk. I can see gentle waves lapping against a coarse sand of shell fragments. But this image is inter-cut with shots of the same beach from behind or within a stand of toe toe, softly blowing in the breeze. That is not “my” point of view — I am on the beach. In a film, this would signify “being watched.” In my dream I realise this, and wake, terrified.

Photo-3

Toe toe shot against dramatic skies is a staple of NZ landscape imagery. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015. Shot with iPhone4, edited with Pho.to Lab.

This post was written for Sally’s Phoneography and non-SLR digital devices photo challenge at Lens and Pens by Sally.

 

 

 

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On cultural imagery and scary dreams

12 thoughts on “On cultural imagery and scary dreams

  1. Su Leslie, these are sweet and tranquilizing examples of Mother Nature’s delicacy. I especially enjoyed the third image. The editing created a silhouette, which changed the mood but did not take away from the scene’s ambience. Happy Photo Challenge.

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  2. Pingback: Phoneography and Non-SLR Digital Devices Photo Challenge: Nature (and Spring Pansies) | Lens and Pens by Sally

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