Pleasure in ambiguity

cobbled lane north melbourne

Who else has passed this way? Cobbled lane, North Melbourne, Australia. Image: Su Leslie 2016

“To me photography must suggest, not insist or explain.”
– Brassaï

Ambiguity in an image can come from many sources; choice of subject, an unusual camera angle or focal point, unexpected movement, or shooting through an opaque surface — to think of a few.

bubble deer state gallery vic

Detail, PixCell-Red Deer, sculpture by Kohei Nawa, seen at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia. Image: Su Leslie 2016

wall of water state gallery vic

Out there. Visitors outside the National Gallery of Victoria, seen from the Waterwall. Image: Su Leslie 2016

By suggesting, rather than explaining, the photographer allows every viewer to create their own meanings and stories.

More fun that way.

Posted to Debbie’s weekly quotation-inspired image challenge at Travel with Intent


The loveliest distance

child drawing

“A curved line is the loveliest distance between two points.” — unknown. Children’s art class. Image: Su Leslie 2018

Art begins with the line; sketches, paintings, even three dimensional works.

It seems to me that the urge to mark lines on a surface is quite fundamentally human. From paleolithic cave art to toddlers “redecorating” walls with Mum’s lipstick (true story — but it was my brother, honest); in all times and at all ages we seek to explore, document and indeed change our world with lines and all that flows from them.

Or as art historian Sir Kenneth Clark put it:

The difference between what we see and a sheet of white paper with a few thin lines on it is very great. Yet this abstraction is one which we seem to have adopted almost instinctively at an early stage in our development, not only in Neolithic graffiti but in early Egyptian drawings. And in spite of its abstract character, the outline is responsive to the least tremor of sensibility. 

At a cultural level, line-making helps to define humanity.

At a personal level it makes us happy — and sometimes deeply unhappy.

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” — Pablo Picasso

The joy children experience in making art can so quickly be extinguished by external — and internal — critics. “That’s no good” becomes “you’re hopeless at art”, which becomes “I’m not creative.” I actually heard a woman at an art workshop say that while introducing herself to the group.

I started writing this post for Debbie’s One Word Sunday, where this week the word is lines. Then I realised that when I talk about art, and about making art, I am also talking about happiness. So I’m adding the post also to the Lens-Artists challenge | happiness is.

Over, under, through the fence


Weathered fence, Greenhithe Pony Club, Auckland, NZ. Image: Su Leslie 2018


Security fencing, old aircraft hangar at Hobsonville Point, Auckland, NZ. Image: Su Leslie 2017


Behind the wire. Farm fencing, Tapora, Kaipara Harbour, NZ. Image: Su Leslie 2018


Not quite clearing the fence. Helensville A&P Show, Auckland, NZ. Image: Su Leslie 2017

Posted to Lens-Artists Photo Challenge | fences


Regular Random: five minutes with the Big T’s new coffee pot


The Big T’s latest op shop find; the $20 coffee pot. The cups are mine. Image: Su Leslie 21018

At the end of our Waikato weekend, the Big T and I called in to the St John’s charity shop in Ngatea; leaving with a really pretty Japanese vase, a silver (plated) coffee pot and a loyalty card!!

The Big T loves coffee and has started buying interesting vessels for the making and serving thereof. I thought the little red stove-top gadget he got a few months ago was a good bargain, but this latest find was even better.

It took quite a lot of polishing to get it looking like this. Luckily T likes shiny things and is happy to put the in the required effort.

Regular Random is a photo challenge hosted by Desley Jane at Musings of a Frequently Flying Scientist. Please pop over and take a look;  and if you’d like to join in:

  • choose a subject or a scene
  • spend five minutes photographing it – no more!
  • try to not interfere with the subject, instead see it from many angles, look through something at it, change the light that’s hitting it
  • have fun!
  • tag your post #regularrandom and ping back to Desley’s post.



Rice paper rolls filled with Asian slaw and peanuts. Image: Su Leslie 2018

Apparently there is scientific evidence that we really do “eat with our eyes first” — which probably explains why so many people enjoy colourful food, nicely presented.

My lunch today was these rice-paper rolls — filled with a mixture of shredded red cabbage, carrots, bean sprouts, spring onion and peanuts along with mint, coriander and basil. They are quick and easy to make (especially when there’s a container of filling already in the fridge), and although I haven’t acquired the knack of wrapping them neatly, they tasted pretty good. Especially with a little bit of hot plum sauce for dipping.

The plate was made by Merilyn Wiseman and the cup by Andrew van der Putten, both New Zealand ceramics artists.

Lens-Artists photo challenge |colourful