I started 2020 with, if not resolutions, then written intentions. One was to take more portraits — partly to improve my technical skills and partly to force me to engage with people more.
This week I have definitely spent more time baking than taking photographs, and I did toy with the idea of slightly altering this post to Friday Flours; wholemeal, white baker’s, spelt, rye, buckwheat — perhaps rice and coconut flours?
But I’ll spare you my attempt at humour and instead offer some images from the archive. Since this week’s Lens-Artists Challenge is to show one single flower — that’s what I’ve done. Or at least a bunch of shots of solitary flowers.
It rained most of yesterday and into the night. I woke this morning to find my plants hung with sparkling raindrops.
There has been almost no rain in Auckland since last December, so every drop is very welcome.
The sun is shining now, but more rain is forecast, so there’s a wee happy dance going on at Casa Zimmerbitch.
This week’s Lens-Artists Challenge theme is “all wet.” It’s nice to have some new images to offer.
Red is a benevolent dictatorship.
— James Jannard, founder Oakley Inc.
Patti’s challenge was to ‘find something red.’ My personal challenge is not to go overboard with this. I love red; red clothes, red lipstick, red food, red cars and (I’m not sure I realised this, red art).
And I know I’ve posted the Anish Kapoor sculpture before, but surely this fits Patti’s brief very well. Red art on a monumental scale: it is 85 metres long, and each end is 25m x 8m.
Red, of course, is the colour of the interior of our bodies. In a way it’s inside out, red.
— Anish Kapoor
Last November I visited Taranaki in New Zealand’s North Island for the annual garden festival. Armed with my carefully annotated programme and map, I criss-crossed the provence, visiting an array of private gardens whose owners had kindly opened them to the public for the duration of the festival.
All were beautiful and interesting, but the one that has proved to be the most memorable was neither on my list, nor a private garden.
Hollard Gardens was established in 1927 by the then owners, Bernie and Rose Hollard. While the garden is now owned and managed by the Taranaki Regional Council, “Hollard Gardens is unique in the fact that it is an achievement of almost a lifetime of work by a private individual. It is a plantsman’s garden and a reflection of patience and horticultural skill.” (The History of Hollards)
“Bernie selected his plants based on personal appeal and whether they would fill gaps in his existing collections of species or varieties. The overall design of the garden considered not only the aesthetics, but whether a plant would thrive in its environment.” (The History of Hollards)
The gardens consist of several areas, including a woodland glade, avenues of lawn lined with different rhododendrons, hydrangeas and other flowering shrubs, and a kitchen garden.
It was the kitchen garden that made Hollard so memorable and special for me. It was one of several organic gardens I visited that have been designed according to permaculture principles, but the most accessible and informative.
That the garden is managed by the Regional Council demonstrates an official commitment to sustainable food production which I find refreshing and reassuring.
Also posted to Friday Flowers
I like to think it’s because my star sign is Libra …
Side Note: I *believe* in horoscopes only when they promise the really good stuff
Where was I? Right: I’m a Libra and apparently that makes me indecisive — and diplomatic. Which means the task of choosing favourites, even from my own work, is daunting. But that is Patti’s challenge for this week’s Lens Artists Photo Challenge | favourite photos of 2019, and I like the idea of looking back over a year’s work.
So here goes (with the caveat that today’s hot favourites could be tomorrow’s ‘also-rans’); images from 2019 that still speak to me.
Taken in early January when the Big T and I visited Rotorua, this shot reminds me of a peaceful afternoon on elevated walkways high in a redwood forest. I could use some of the cool, fragrant air right now.
It’s become a bit of a “thing” to photograph T’s car in scenic locations. Maybe I should ask Audi for a job?
One of the things that has brought me great joy in the past year is seeing native birds feasting on the bounty of our trees. With so much loss of habitat in the neighbourhood, the importance of maintaining a food source for our beautiful wildlife has never been greater.
In April, my friend Claire sold her house and moved out of Auckland. We’ve been friends since our kids were at primary school and I miss her company, especially as I’d spent much of the previous year documenting her work as an artist and teacher.
I chose this shot of oil storage tanks at sunset simply because I think it’s beautiful.
On a winter’s day walk in the Auckland Domain, I found this shot already staged for me, either by nature or another’s hand. Serendipity.
Definitely not the best shot I took in July, but a lovely reminder of a frosty morning in the central North Island town of Turangi.
I finally found the multiple-exposure setting on my camera and had fun with pohutukawa leaves and some other things. I love the colour palette in this shot.
One of the most photographed sculptures in New Zealand apparently. Certainly I can never resist trying to capture the changing moods of this powerful and beautiful work.
October was a month of flowers and new growth. I chose this particular image because I love the colours.
With all that seems wrong in the world, I need to hold on to what is good, like a week in New Plymouth visiting gardens — beautiful and productive — and meeting people committed to living simpler, better lives. Each evening while I was there, I walked through the city’s stunning Pukekura Park.
A no-brainer really. My funny, kind and darling son.
And now a thank you …
to everyone who visits this blog, and especially those who take the time to share their thoughts and ideas and so often, kindness. I want you to know how much I appreciate your support and the community we have created here.
Wishing you all a happy new year.
“To abstract is to draw out the essence of a matter.” – Ben Shahn
The more photographs I make, the more I realise that I’ll never capture everything in a scene. And the more I try, the busier and more confused my images become.
I’m learning to focus my brain as well as my lens; to make judgements about what is important to me; what I want my image to say. Sometimes that means taking an image into the realms of abstraction.
“The less there is to look at, the more important it is that we look at it closely and carefully.” ― Kirk Varnedoe
“What does that represent? There was never any question in plastic art, in poetry, in music, of representing anything. It is a matter of making something beautiful, moving, or dramatic – this is by no means the same thing.” – Fernand Leger
Some things feel like they should always come in twos — like biscuits, and scoops of ice-cream. Though with (regular) hindsight, maybe having two eyes but only one stomach is a problem.
Apparently, one of the earliest versions of the saying “two’s company, three’s a crowd” dates back to 1678. John Ray wrote in his collection English Proverbs “One’s too few, three too many.”
One becomes two: shadows and reflections.
Do I approach it literally with the layers of a macaron or a cafe breakfast?
Or stacked container layers, gone awry in high winds?
More broken layers?
Or maybe layers in art?
And then there are layers created by the two-dimensional nature of photography; compressing landscapes into bands of colour and texture.
Not to mention layered images; double-exposures, super-impositions.
Obviously, I couldn’t decide which to focus on.
“Taking pictures is like tiptoeing into the kitchen late at night and stealing Oreo cookies.” – Diane Arbus
The tiptoeing part of that quote definitely resonates with me when it comes to photographing people, particularly candid shots. It’s not something I do often, and my general rule of thumb is to make my presence known, but unobtrusive.
And when I’m happy with the results — definitely an Oreo moment.