Reflecting on reflection

"... and the dance goes on." Detail from glass chandelier artwork by Marlyne Jackson. Seen at Kaipara Coast Sculpture Gardens, Dec, 2015. Image: Su Leslie, 2015.

“… and the dance goes on.” Detail from artwork by Marlyne Jackson. Seen at Kaipara Coast Sculpture Gardens, Dec, 2015. Image: Su Leslie, 2015.

Serendipity! There I was, trying to write something wise and thoughtful about New Year, when I found the post below — Reflecting on Reflection.

This captures my ambivalence about the event that we call New Year, and particularly the social frenzy around reflection and renewal. It’s not that I don’t believe in those things — more that I don’t want an arbitrary date to determine my personal stock-take.

For many New Zealanders — especially young adults –New Year is celebrated at beach resorts with friends and acquaintances and large quantities of alcohol. Injuries, sickness, fights, sexual violence and general risk-taking are all part of the package. It’s as though people must drive themselves beyond excess because tomorrow, January 1, is the ultimate “new day.”

I have come to see that every day is a new day; a chance to make a difference to our own and someone else’s life. And that’s the thought I’m carrying forward to January 1 2016.

To everyone who visits, reads, follows and shares their thoughts and wisdom on this blog, I wish you much happiness, love and the fulfillment of your dreams in the days, weeks and years ahead.

ngā mihi o te tau hou

Zimmerbitch

Sometimes reflection offers us more than we can hope to deal with. Photo: Su Leslie 2013 Sometimes reflection offers us more than we can hope to deal with. Photo: Su Leslie 2013

“Reflect” is one of those words that has both physical and metaphysical dimensions. At one level, we’re talking about the action of light on a surface:

1. To throw or bend back (light, for example) from a surface.

2. To give back or show an image of (an object); mirror. [The Free Dictionary]

… and on the other we use it to describe a set of thought processes

4.   a. To think seriously.     

      b. To express carefully considered thoughts [The Free Dictionary]

At this time of year there seems to be a social expectation of reflection and renewal. From a wholly arbitrary point in the way we measure time – midnight on December 31 – we extrapolate a metaphor of change and (usually) improvement. Newspaper and magazine articles tell us how…

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Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge: looking back on the year

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Like Sally and Raewyn (decocraftsdigicrafts),  I’m using this last post of the year to Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge  to look back at some of the images I’ve shared in 2015.

There are definite themes that emerge; my growing fascination with the minutiae of the natural world, my frustration with neo-liberal political and economic systems that devalue both human life and the earth upon which we depend, and a growing interest in the interplay between memory and image. And of course art; particularly sculpture. This last has also provided an excuse to indulge in another love — travel — taking me to Wellington for LUX Festival of Light, Gibbs Farm on the Kaipara, and Sydney for the Sculpture by the Sea exhibition at Bondi.

 

Visitors to Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi, NSW, Australia pose by Norton Flavell's sculpture 'Dust.' Image: Su Leslie, 2015

How to experience art in the twenty first century. Artwork: ‘Dust’ by Norton Flavell. Image: Su Leslie, 2015

At Bondi, I noticed an alarming number of visitors treating works of art as little more than backdrop for selfies; this became the basis of my post Putting yourself in the picture: how to experience art in the 21st century.

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Bernar Venet, ‘88.5 ARC x 8. Gibbs Farm Sculpture Park, Kaipara Harbour, NZ. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

A rainy day visit to the monumental sculptures at Gibbs Farm left me feeling renewed and awed at the juxtaposition of art and landscape (Art in the Outdoors: a vigorous antidote to melancholy)

Art installation, "Feed the Kids Too [Capital]", Turtle Donna Sarten and Bernie Harfleet, Wellington LUX, 2015. Photo; Su Leslie, 2015

Feed the Kids Too [Capital], Turtle Donna Sarten and Bernie Harfleet, Wellington LUX, 2015. Photo; Su Leslie, 2015

My friends Turtle Donna Sarten and Bernie Harfleet took their beautiful and thought-provoking work Feed the Kids Too to Wellington’s LUX Festival where it proved once again to be a hit with visitors.

"All that is solid melts into air" graffitti on old pipes lying alongside the River Thames, London. Black and white photo by Su Leslie, 2015.

Riverside, Greenwich, London. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

Marx’s “all that is solid melts into air” graffiti’d onto rusting pipes beside London’s Thames provoked a piece on urbanisation and unchecked growth — a theme I had already visited in an earlier challenge — On the Half-Gallon, Quarter-Acre Pavlova Paradise.

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High density housing on the city fringes. Far from the “Kiwi quarter acre” and beyond the means of many. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015.

Politics was never far from my thoughts in 2015, as the Big T and I joined many thousands of people around the world protesting at the proposed TPPA agreement.

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The face of peaceful protest to protect New Zealand’s economy, environment and way of life. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

 

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Enjoying the beauty of age. Image: Su Leslie, 2015

Photo-editing as a tool to explore the relationships between image, emotion and memory became increasingly important to me, as I began to focus on the natural world and my place in it.

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Agapanthus. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014. Edited with Snapseed.

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Money tree blossom. Image: Su Leslie, 2015

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Autumn. Photo: Su Leslie 2015.

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Surprisingly warm for the time of year; the boy-child testing the water. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

And sometimes I managed not to over-think and seek deeper meaning. Sometimes, I was able just to enjoy the moment and the images that captured that moment — particularly when it meant spending time with my son.

To Sally, many thanks for hosting this challenge. Thanks too to everyone who takes part and makes the experience so interesting, sociable and rewarding.

Wishing you all a very happy new year.

ngā mihi o te tau hou

 

Daily Post Photo Challenge: now

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Greyhound racing. Image: Su Leslie, 2015

No bets placed, but it seems I haven’t lost my touch for picking winners. Greyhound racing, Auckland, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2015

Boy jumping from wharf, Murrays Bay, Auckland, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2015

Cooling off at the end of the day. Boy jumping from wharf, Murray’s Bay, Auckland, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2015

Men diving off Murray's Bay Wharf, Auckland, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2015

Murray’s Bay Wharf, Auckland, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2015

The stress of Christmas is over, and the Big T is properly on holiday for two weeks. The sun is shining and we’re enjoying the freedom to spend our days as we please.

Nothing is worth more than this day.

~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Written for the Daily Post Photo Challenge: Now

 

Step away from the mayhem, if only for a while

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Kowhai leaves; black and white, aged with Snapseed and Aviary Photo Editor filters. Image: Su Leslie, 2015.

Kowhai leaves. Image: Su Leslie, 2015. Edited with Snapseed and Aviary Photo Editor.

In the days before Christmas, life took on a slightly manic quality. Locating sellotape and wrapping paper became a quest of epic proportions, and even the smallest errand seemed to involve a cast of thousands;  all of us sitting in our cars waiting for a parking space.

I had very little time to spend outdoors, alone with my thoughts; so I valued an early-morning walk even more than usual.

It seems appropriate that these images for Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge, should reference the unexpected, and rather ethereal sense of peace I felt during that walk.

Kowhai leaves; black and white, aged with Snapseed and Aviary Photo Editor filters. Image: Su Leslie, 2015.

Kowhai leaves; black and white. Image: Su Leslie, 2015. Edited with Snapseed and Aviary Photo Editor.

 

Kowhai leaves; black and white. Image: Su Leslie, 2015. Edited with  Snapseed and Aviary Photo Editor.

Kowhai leaves; black and white. Image: Su Leslie, 2015. Edited with Snapseed and Aviary Photo Editor.