Category Archives: Thoughts
It is the season of the year when ‘time’, in one form or another, often impinges on our consciousness – reflections on past occasions and happenings, Christmas festivities, the New Year, plans and wishes for the future etc. The image below seeks to express the passing of time. The material is derived from a newspaper advertisement for Time magazine.
In The Little Book of Contemplative Photography, the author, Howard Zehr, suggests that once a week we spend at least 10 minutes with a selected photograph and then, he instructs;
‘As you do, consider three topics in this order:
1 I see (Describe: examine each object, each detail, the light etc. Associate: what are you reminded of by the shapes, juxtapositions etc?)
2 I feel (What do you feel as you look at the image?)
3 I think (Interpret and analyse)’
Not everyone enjoys being in the spotlight. Finding a peaceful spot away from the hassle of the modern world – somewhere to quietly reflect, meditate and generally sort things out – can help soothe the troubled mind. But too often sounds, lights, schedules etc intrude. As the poet William Wordsworth wrote, ‘The world is too much with us.’
The figure in the photograph is a small sculpture of the Weeping Buddha. It is believed by some that the Weeping Buddha takes away the grief and troubles of the world. In return, he bestow peace and provides strength to those who rub his back.
This broken down tree root in the New Forest evoked stories of events that occurred a thousand years ago. The Forest was created by King William I (William the Conqueror) when he ruthlessly drove the residents of 36 parishes from their homes in order to claim the land for his hunting activities. On William’s death, the Forest was inherited by his son, also a William (William Rufus) William Rufus was not popular and died in a shooting ‘accident’ in the forest, although there remains a strong suspicion that he was assassinated.
So, maybe William was here, even if this particular tree wasn’t!
Please read the preface to Gallery Series I/15 (https://lagill6.wordpress.com/2016/12/06/gallery-series-i15/) to more fully understand the image below:
Gallery Series I/16
I first published the following post in 2011 – shortly after the events of 9/11. The occasion it records had a significant and formative impact on my life and, on the eve of Remembrance Day, it seems an appropriate time for a re-publication The image has been reprocessed to capture the regimented nature of the sacrifice.
Most of us can identify incidents, happenings or, perhaps, decisions we made that in some way had a lasting influence on our lives. For me a school trip to Holland at the age of 15 was such an occasion.
It was my first trip abroad. The Dutch were warm and welcoming people who spoke with what I can only describe as a slight but attractive gurgle in their voice. Most were sufficiently fluent in English to make communication comparatively easy. We felt ‘at home’.
Our stay had been very carefully organised as an educational visit – the two masters in charge were both geography specialists. We were taken to the polders to see how the Dutch had reclaimed marshland and were introduced to traditional culture and costume in places such as Edam, Volendam and Marken.
Amsterdam was a very different experience. Here was a capital city with a transport system based on trams, bicycles and a network of canals. Bicycles – they were everywhere! Bicycles reigned supreme. Not sporty types, but sturdy, upright machines that seemed to underline their status.
But the occasion that had a lasting impact on me occurred not in Amsterdam nor any of the other interesting places I have mentioned, but at the Arnhem War Cemetery.
Our party was from a boys’ grammar school and we knew that one of our old boys was buried at the Cemetery. It seemed right and proper that we should pay our respects. The necessary arrangements were made, but nothing could have prepared us for what we found.
On entering the Cemetery we were confronted with row upon row of uniform, white headstones stretching far into the distance – 1759 in total, 1392 from the United Kingdom. It is known as the Airborne Cemetery. The Airborne forces went into battle by parachute or glider. In either case they were highly vulnerable to gunfire.
We were directed to the grave we were looking for – the name was Shuttleworth, but I don’t remember the details – and then retraced our steps silently, obviously reading other headstones as we passed along. What was especially tragic was the high proportion who were aged between 20 and 24 when they died, and a few were in their late teens. These were young men, not much older than us, with their lives before them. What a shocking, shocking waste of life.
The coach journey back to the hostel was very quiet.
I enjoy creating and posting abstract images and often feel that it would be appropriate to attach the following extract from Kandinsky:
‘The spectator is too ready to look for a meaning in a picture—i.e., some outward connection between its various parts. Our materialistic age has produced a type of spectator or “connoisseur,” who is not content to put himself opposite a picture and let it say its own message. Instead of allowing the inner value of the picture to work, he worries himself in looking for “closeness to nature,” or “temperament,” or “handling,” or “tonality,” or “perspective,” or what not. His eye does not probe the outer expression to arrive at the inner meaning. In a conversation with an interesting person, we endeavour to get at his fundamental ideas and feelings. We do not bother about the words he uses, nor the spelling of those words, nor the breath necessary for speaking them, nor the movements of his tongue and lips, nor the psychological working on our brain, nor the physical sound in our ear, nor the physiological effect on our nerves. We realize that these things, though interesting and important, are not the main things of the moment, but that the meaning and idea is what concerns us. We should have the same feeling when confronted with a work of art. When this becomes general the artist will be able to dispense with natural form and colour and speak in purely artistic language.’ (Kandinsky Concerning the Spiritual in Art)