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