Putting things into perspective (take #2)

Plastic spoons in the ground. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014

Plastic spoons in the ground. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014

Sometimes, the scale of an issue or problem can be so great that numbers become a bit meaningless.

I can visualise 500 grams of butter, or a 80kg person, but for a trip of 300km I’d probably have to draw a circle on a map to see where I might end up. And when I try to visualise 83,000 children going to school hungry, it becomes even more difficult. My son’s primary school had about 500 kids, so that’s 166 schools’ worth. But how many schools are there in Auckland? In New Zealand?

Auckland artist Donna Turtle Sarten works with large numbers. Her installation Strange Fruit (which I wrote about in Defining Nationhood) consisted of 3890 military dog tags  — one for each of the New Zealanders who served in the Vietnam War. Her latest work, Feed the Kids, sees 83,000 plastic spoons dug into the ground on the roadside at Te Atatu Peninsula. Each spoon represents a child in New Zealand who goes to school hungry according to a government report.

A different perspective; 83,000 spoons line the roadside in Donna Turtle Sarten's installation Feed the Kids; Harbourview Sculpture Trail, Te Atatu, Auckland. Photo: Su Leslie 2014

A different perspective; 83,000 spoons line the roadside in Donna Turtle Sarten’s installation Feed the Kids; Harbourview Sculpture Trail, Te Atatu, Auckland. Photo: Su Leslie 2014

Feed the Kids was created as part of the Harbourview Sculpture Trail 2014, on Auckland’s Te Atatu Peninsula (8-30 March 2014). The artist has said that although we see and hear poverty statistics quoted often, the numbers are so large that it’s difficult to actually make sense of them. Seeing 83,000 plastic spoons disappearing into the distance creates meaning  — it puts the problem of child poverty in New Zealand into perspective.

This post was written for the Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge. You can find out more about that here. And here are some more posts on perspective that I’ve enjoyed:

http://stephenkellycreative.wordpress.com/2014/03/10/weekly-photo-challenge-perspective/

http://photobyjohnbo.wordpress.com/2014/03/10/weekly-photo-challenge-perspective/

http://helensphotomania.wordpress.com/2014/03/10/weekly-photo-challenge-perspective/

http://canoecommunications.wordpress.com/2014/03/10/winter-perspective/

http://handmaydcrafts.wordpress.com/2014/03/10/weekly-photo-challenge-perspective/

http://desfischersauge.wordpress.com/2014/03/10/weekly-photo-challenge-perspective/

http://morganebyloosphoto.wordpress.com/2014/03/10/weekly-photo-challenge-perspective/

http://cosmopolitaninthemaking.wordpress.com/2014/03/10/weekly-photo-challenge-perspective/

http://100parts.wordpress.com/2014/03/10/perspectives/

http://neophytephotographer.wordpress.com/2014/03/10/weekly-photo-challenge-perspective/

WPC – Perspective (1)

WPC: Perspective 3

http://thewanderlustgene.wordpress.com/2014/03/10/ancient-and-abandoned-a-study-in-perspective/

http://humbledpie.wordpress.com/2014/03/09/weekly-photo-challenge-perspective/

http://wordswewomenwrite.wordpress.com/2014/03/09/weekly-photo-challenge-perspective/

Weekly Photo Challenge: Perspective

http://theamateurcamera.wordpress.com/2014/03/09/weekly-photo-challenge-perspective/

http://ronmayhewphotography.wordpress.com/2014/03/09/neighborhood-watch-two-perspectives/

http://themostbeautifulplacesineurope.wordpress.com/2014/03/09/weekly-photo-challenge-perspective/

http://northumbrianlight.wordpress.com/2014/03/09/perspective/

http://redstuffdan.wordpress.com/2014/03/09/weekly-photo-challenge-a-different-perspective-gallery/pers1/

One

Flowers, people; sometimes it takes effort to focus on one thing in a crowded field. Photo: Su Leslie 2013

Photo: Su Leslie 2013

Flowers, people; sometimes it takes effort to focus on one thing in a crowded field.

It’s worth the effort.

This post was written in response to this week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge.

Here are some other posts I’ve enjoyed:

http://shakespearesgal2.wordpress.com/2013/12/21/among-the-horse-chestnuts-the-long-walk-windsor/

http://mylifeinfocusblog.wordpress.com/2013/12/21/weekly-photo-challenge-one/

http://chrisbreebaart.wordpress.com/2013/12/21/weekly-photo-challenge-one-liverpool-mersey-front/

http://caughtbytheeyeofmankind.wordpress.com/2013/12/21/weekly-photo-challenge-one/

http://cosytravels.wordpress.com/2013/12/21/weekly-photo-challenge-one/

http://twoscamps.wordpress.com/2013/12/21/weekly-photo-challenge-one/

http://mikikuwabara.wordpress.com/2013/12/21/weekly-photo-challenge-one/

http://blackhillsreiki.wordpress.com/2013/12/21/weekly-photo-challenge-one-2nd-post/

http://brokenlightcollective.wordpress.com/2013/12/21/childhood-lost-2/

Really unexpected, or unexpectedly real?

“Reality leaves a lot to the imagination.” ― John Lennon

“Reality leaves a lot to the imagination.”
― John Lennon
Object and image, Tony Gray 2011.

I wouldn’t really expect to find this object, suspended in air in the middle of a warehouse space (or anywhere else for that matter). Yet it is a very “real” object, in a very real space.

Only it’s not.It’s a 3-D model generated by my partner using sophisticated engineering software. He has used tools which allow engineers to optimise the design of objects – from the tiniest bottle cap to whole, multi-storey buildings; and applied them to the creation of an object that has no obvious function but to be looked at. He has created a work of art.

But of course, he hasn’t really. He has created a visual representation of a set of mathematical equations and placed the result on a photographic background. He didn’t have to use this background – and with other models he hasn’t.

"To expect the unexpected shows a thoroughly modern intellect." -- Oscar Wilde

“To expect the unexpected shows a thoroughly modern intellect.”
— Oscar Wilde

The object could be real; he could take the output file generated from the modelling process and send it to a 3-D printer. He could make this sculpture extremely large, or very small. He could reproduce it as many times as he wanted (or could afford) to.

He would like to do this. I kind of want him not to. I like that he can create virtual “sculptures” and exhibit them anywhere in the world (or in space I suppose) without using up any physical resources beyond those needed to generate the model. I like the way he can exhibit in multiple places at once and can (using some other cool bits of software) generate a walk-through, walk around experience for the viewer. I like that this plays with space and time and with our expectations – of what is art and what is real.

sculpture2

“Stay focused to the unexpected. Sometimes it’s life’s conundrums that take us exactly where we need to and least expected.”
— Kemmy Nola

This post was written in response to the Daily Post Weekly Photographic Challenge.

Here are some other posts I enjoyed:

http://lanterfanteren.blogspot.be/2013/11/unexpected-onverwacht.html

http://curlybug.wordpress.com/2013/11/25/weekly-photo-challenge-unexpected/

http://mang0pe0ple.wordpress.com/2013/11/25/weekly-photo-challenge-unexpected/

preservation

http://pleisbilongtumi.wordpress.com/2013/11/25/weekly-photo-challenge-unexpected/

http://brokenlightcollective.wordpress.com/2013/11/25/unexpected/

Unexpected

http://pattisjarrett.wordpress.com/2013/11/25/weekly-photo-challenge-unexpected/

http://livelaughlovetravel.org/2013/11/25/weekly-photo-challenge-unexpected-my-summer-adventure/

Weekly Photo Challenge: Unexpected

http://18millionpixels.com/2013/11/25/weekly-photo-challenge-unexpected/

http://vonnscottbair.wordpress.com/2013/11/26/the-tiger-house-the-latest-san-francisco-snippets-weekly-photo-challenge-unexpected/

Very British

 

 

One shot – two ways

This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge is to shoot the same scene in both landscape and portrait orientations. The terms “landscape” and “portrait” imply what we can expect from a shot, and to an extent how we read a series – moving from the establishing landscape shot which provides context – to the portrait which invites us to appreciate detail.

Mostly, that’s what I’ve done – but there are a couple of exceptions!

Sculpture; Te Papa, Wellington

Sculpture; Te Papa, Wellington

Capturing the photographer; reflections in sculpture. Te Papa, Wellington.

Capturing the photographer; reflections in sculpture. Te Papa, Wellington.

Boats; Herald Island wharf. Auckland, NZ

Boats; Herald Island wharf. Auckland, NZ

Detail of boats at Herald Island wharf. Auckland, NZ

Detail of boats at Herald Island wharf. Auckland, NZ

Bar, Aotea Square,  Auckland, NZ

Bar, Aotea Square, Auckland, NZ

Auckland reflected in chair-back. Bar, Aotea Square, Auckland, NZ

Office buildings reflected in chair-back. Bar, Aotea Square, Auckland, NZ

Water feature, Auckland War Memorial Museum.

Water feature, Auckland War Memorial Museum.

Water feature, Auckland War Memorial Museum.

Water feature, Auckland War Memorial Museum.

Weekly Photo Challenge: curving towards reality

“Reality leaves a lot to the imagination.” ― John Lennon

“Reality leaves a lot to the imagination.”
― John Lennon

The delicate curves of this sculpture remind me of ballet; of a dancer rehearsing – probably something like The Maple Leaf Rag.

I can imagine the  upright piano in the corner, with a long-haired, wild eyed young man playing for a solitary dancer who moves about the floor.

sculpture2Of course, my image is not real. But neither is the sculpture. It is virtual; a clever piece of engineering design, mathematically modelled, rendered in 3-D and located in a photographic space.

The designer is my partner. He’s an engineer by profession, and an artist in his soul. His mastery of the technology allows him to imagine works of art, and create them in a virtual world – but one that can intersect with reality.

Weekly Photo Challenge: fleeting moments in a day; fleeting years in a life

The sun rising over Larkings Landing, Beach Haven, Auckland. From Hobsonville Point.

The sun rising over Larkings Landing, Beach Haven, Auckland. From Hobsonville Point.

The boy-child has now abandoned his photographic project involving sky trails, sunrises, late nights and ridiculously early mornings. I guess that means an end to those frantic drives across town wondering if we’ll make it to whatever beach he’s decided on in time to capture the intense colours of a new sun sliding up from the horizon.

I’ll miss those drives; fleeting moments of togetherness with a child who’s becoming a man faster than the night sky transforms into day (metaphorically, ok).

This week’s Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge theme is “fleeting”

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.