Fun photos and hanging out with my inner child

Macro b&w shot of cut onion with bokeh. Image: Su Leslie, 2017. Edited with Snapseed.

Image: Su Leslie, 2017. Edited with Snapseed.

We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.
— George Bernard Shaw

For me, photography is play.

I have no-one telling me what to shoot; or how and when. I don’t make money from it (although I’d like to one day). The only constraints on me are time, light and my imagination.

The shot above is pure play. Not just the messing about with an onion, a smartphone and some tinfoil (now there’s a sentence you don’t often see), but the afterwards playing — the electronic doodling with photo-editing apps.

Diane Ackerman said “play is our brain’s favorite way of learning”, while the psychologist Jean Piaget offered this advice about creativity:

If you want to be creative, stay in part a child, with the creativity and invention that characterizes children before they are deformed by adult society.
— Jean Piaget

Written for Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge at Lens and Pens by Sally

 

Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge

Close up shot of Pohutukawa-like flower. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

Pohutukawa-like flower: but blossoming in May? Image: Su Leslie, 2017. Edited with Snapseed and Stackables

I saw several of these plants at Westhaven Marina recently and can’t figure out whether they are out-of-season Pohutukawa, or a similar species that flowers (much) later.

Either way, they provided cheerful little bursts of red along the marina’s boardwalk.

A contribution to Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge at Lens and Pens by Sally.

Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge: macro

YOu can never have too many flowers. Double-exposure shot flowers in colour and black & white. Image: Su Leslie, 2017. Edited with Snapseed.

Flowers as symbols of hope, and of loss. Double exposure image: Su Leslie, 2017. Edited with Snapseed.

In my largely ever-green part of the world, autumn is not denoted by an increase in colour, but a gradual sense of its loss.

Sandwiched between tropical cyclones Debbie and Cook, New Zealand is experiencing a few days of sunshine. For the people of Edgecumbe in the Bay of Plenty these days are being spent salvaging what they can from their homes after the Rangitaiki River burst its banks last week and flooded the town, and preparing for the terrible possibility that the temporary repairs won’t hold in the coming storm.

Written for Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge at Lens and Pens by Sally.

Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge

Carved in wood. Macro shot, detail of Nuku Tewhatewha (pataka, or storehouse) exhibited at The Dowse Art Museum, Lower Hutt, New Zealand. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

Carved in wood. Detail from Nuku Tewhatewha (pataka, or storehouse) exhibited at The Dowse Art Museum, Lower Hutt, New Zealand. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

Much of the art that I admire, especially sculpture, is large in scale. When a work is expansive, it is easy to ignore the many small details which must work together to form the work as a whole.

For Sally’s challenge this week (at Lens and Pens by Sally) the theme is macro and I’ve chosen to focus on the forms, textures, colours and lines found in the detail of larger works of art, all created by artists and craftsmen of Aotearoa New Zealand.

The shot above is of one small detail in the carved barge board of a traditional Maori food storage house, or pataka. This particular pataka was made in 1856 by master carver Horonuku, of Ngati Tuwharetoa, and his team. (1) It is now on permanent exhibition at The Dowse Art Musuem in Lower Hutt.

Macro shot. Detail Jeff Thomson Mahoe Leaf; laser-cut and screen-printed corrugated iron. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

Honoring nature with technology. Detail Mahoe Leaf (artist, Jeff Thomson). Laser-cut and screen-printed corrugated iron. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

Jeff Thomson is an Auckland artist who has become best known for his sculptures made from corrugated iron. His Mahoe Leaf above, is laser-cut and screen-printed.

Leaf forms also provide inspiration for artists Evelyn Dunstan and Juliette Laird. Like Jeff Thomson, they are working in human-made materials; in this case glass and fibre. By capturing honestly the lines and forms of nature in the tiny details in larger works, we recognise the known, and can enjoy the artists’ creative explorations of nature and human intervention.

Macro. Detail of cast glass work entitled The Firebush 5, by Evelyn Dunstan. Image: Su Leslie, 2013

Detail, The Firebush 5, cast glass by artist Evelyn Dunstan. Image: Su Leslie, 2013

Macro. Detail of "Seedlings", by Juliette Laird. Hand-knitted leaves on wire-wrapped stems. Exhibited at Harbourview Sculpture Trail, 2014. Image: Su Leslie, 2014

Detail; Seedlings, by Juliette Laird. Hand-knitted leaves on wire-wrapped stems. Exhibited at Harbourview Sculpture Trail, 2014. Image: Su Leslie, 2014

 


(1) Nuku Tewhatewha at The Dowse

 

Clear as glass. Or not.

Trapped in glass. Air bubbles inside a blown glass paperweight. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

Trapped in glass. Image: Su Leslie, 2016. Edited with Snapseed.

Things turn up in unexpected places. When the boy-child moved out a few weeks ago, he unearthed a glass paperweight — given to me as a leaving present from a job I had about 25 years ago. I probably hadn’t seen it in almost that long.

I love glass art, but have always thought the paperweight, of clear glass with air bubbles, just a bit boring. It still pales into comparison with other pieces I own, but since it’s been sitting on my desk these last few days, I’ve enjoyed photographing it and imagining what other interpretations might be put on the image.

This week macro is the theme for Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge over at Lens and Pens by Sally.