Taking a break

img_5126 Watching the sunset, Castlecliff Beach, Whanganui, NZ. Image: Su Leslie 2019

We tend to think of relaxation as a personal experience — the places and activities and moments that refresh and recharge us. Indeed, it’s not uncommon to find our attempts to relax utterly thwarted by the presence of too many other people with the same intent.

But sometimes it seems, relaxation can be collective. So many people arrived at Castlecliff Beach in Whanganui to watch this glorious mid-winter sunset, the little carpark ended up full. Families were picnicking on the beach, others in their cars, and a couple of groups lit driftwood fires. No-one played loud music or behaved badly; we were all too focused on enjoying nature’s theatre.

Posted to Lens-Artists’ Photo Challenge — Taking a Break

Advertisements

Dreams within dreams

IMG_1805

“All that we see or seem, is but a dream within a dream.” ~Edgar Allan Poe. Image: Su Leslie 2018

The boy-child is studying digital media at university and recently made this video for an assignment. He’s really proud of it, and I think it’s quite professional, especially as video is a medium I haven’t really come to terms with yet.

He’s taken what was an exercise in using green-screen, and given it a very dream-like feel. The soundtrack song is Call Me, by Korean singer and DJ, Park Hye Jin. I have no idea about the surreal title.

Posted to the Lens-Artists’ Photo Challenge | dreamy

 

 

 

Detail

img_4912

“The detail is as important as the essential is. When it is inadequate, it destroys the whole outfit.” — Christian Dior

A couple of years ago, I went to an exhibition called The House of Dior: Seventy Years of Haute Couture, at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne.

I doubt anyone could ever call me a fashionista, but I do love beautiful things — and that  exhibition was a feast of beautiful things.

“A dress is a piece of ephemeral architecture, designed to enhance the proportions of the female body.” — Christian Dior

Understandably, the gallery lighting wasn’t great for photography,  but I hope these few images can convey some of the design genius and attention to detail that has made the House of Dior famous.

Posted to Lens-Artists Photo Challenge | detail

Light and time

‘Favourite’ is a word I use a lot. There is so much I enjoy in the natural world and amongst the fruits of human culture, that I find myself talking about favourite beaches, parks, bush walks, books, music, foods, museums, artists … the list goes on.

What I’ve come to realise is that communicating my enjoyment is a pleasure in itself — a favourite thing in fact.

For most of my life, communicating has meant writing, and I still take great care to craft words that will resonate with and spark a response in readers. But increasingly, my words are supplemented (and sometimes replaced) by images.

So on this day (if you ask me tomorrow I might have a different view), my favourite thing is photography. The photographer Elliot Erwitt conveys the feeling well:

To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place… I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them. — Elliott Erwitt

The title of this post comes from the wonderful art critic and painter, John Berger

What makes photography a strange invention is that its primary raw materials are light and time. – John Berger

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge | favourite things

Delicate

img_4436

Hydrangea. Image: Su Leslie 2019

The Oxford Dictionary offers several definitions of delicate, including Very fine in texture or structure; of intricate workmanship or quality”, “Easily broken or damaged; fragile” and “Requiring sensitive or careful handling.”

There is much in nature that is fine and intricate. And as we humans are discovering, such things are also easily damaged, and require much more careful handling than many of the systems and institutions we have developed seem to permit.

Posted to the Lens Artists Photo Challenge |delicate

 

 

 

Singing in the kitchen

Close up shot of garlic, ginger, coriander, lime ... some of the ingredients in Sarah Tiong's Asian Vinaigrette. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

Garlic, ginger, coriander, lime … some of the ingredients in Sarah Tiong’s Asian Vinaigrette. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

“Cooking is a language that express harmony, creativity, happiness, beauty, poetry, complexity, magic, humor, provocation.” Ferran Adrià  — head chef of the elBulli restaurant

Harmony is all about combination. About striking the right notes to create something pleasing. This is just as true in cooking as music. Flavours, textures, colours, even temperature must be balanced.

As a cook, I definitely fall into the enthusiastic amateur category, but with practice (lots more hours than I ever put into learning guitar), I am beginning to create food that is closer to “well-crafted pop song” than “open-mic night at the local folk club.”

For which my boys are ever so grateful.

Lens Artists Photo Challenge | harmony

 

Making space for the viewer

pliers and violin

Image: Su Leslie 2019

I think of simplicity in photography (Mies van der Rohe’s famous “less is more”) as more than the limiting of elements or a paring back of visual noise. I think it is also about creating space for the viewer to make their own story from the image.

img_0840

What do you think? How much do you like (or loath) ambiguity in an image?

Thank you to Debbie at Travel with Intent for reminding me of Ansel Adams’ statement that “There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer.”

And thanks also to Amy at The World is a Book for hosting this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge | less is more.

 

Getting creative with an old desk

IMG_4118

Refurbished; old writing desk bought from a charity shop. Image: Su Leslie 2019

My student son lives in a shared flat, which means he has to keep most of his belongings in his bedroom, and work there too when the shared spaces get too busy or noisy.

So when I saw an old drop-front writing desk, it seemed a perfect solution to his need for both a workspace and storage.

In its original state, the desk was a bit dull and sad-looking, but it’s amazing what a few coats of white paint can do!

img_3946

As bought. The wooden finish was a bit shabby, and too dark for a small bedroom. Image: Su Leslie 2019

I remember from my flatting days that rented houses never have enough lights or power points, they’re always in the wrong place, and there’s generally nothing you can do about it. So with the Big T’s help, I’ve fitted power and lighting to the desk itself, with a four-outlet power board (with USB ports) and a LED light above the desk area.

IMG_4125

Integrated power-board makes it easy to use/charge laptop, phone, etc. Image: Su Leslie 2019

IMG_4122

LED light attached to the desk should make the work area usable in any room. Image: Su Leslie 2019

IMG_4119

Imagining how the desk would look as my workspace. Image: Su Leslie 2019

IMG_4121

Image: Su Leslie 2019

Having brought the desk indoors to photograph it, I’m realising how useful I’d find something like this. And it does look good with the black & white chair.

Posted to the Lens-Artists’ Photo Challenge — creativity

“dusted with spices from a million flowers”

img_4011

“Bees do have a smell, you know, and if they don’t they should, for their feet are dusted with spices from a million flowers.” ― Ray Bradbury, Dandelion Wine

Words are ingredients that writers can combine in infinite ways. And as good cooks sustain and nourish and delight us with the products of their craft, so too will good writers. Sometimes it is the smallest phrases — the careful choice and arrangement of just a few words — that bursts into our consciousness and remains a delicious memory long after we put down the book.

For this week’s Lens Artists Photo Challenge | delicious