Well, I thought I’d manage to get another post up before we went for away for a short break, our first in nearly two and half years. However, not only did I not succeed in getting it written but the short break planned as three days in the Negev desert turned out to be shorter than planned. Just about everything that could go wrong did and without bothering you with all the details, what was supposed to have been a few days of quiet relaxation became un cauchemar d’absurdités—a nightmare of absurdities. So we’ll have to try again sometime soon and plan things a little better.
Now, every now and then somebody will ask me how I have managed to keep up a fairly constant stream of nonsense on this blog over the past almost two years and the simple answer is that I’m not too sure. I was asked this question again the other day and somewhere in the back of my mind, I seem to remember that I made a list of possible topics before I posted the first one and so I searched and found that indeed I had done so. Looking at the list now for the first time in nearly two years, I see that I’ve covered several of the topics in one form or another and others I’ve never got around to at all. Some of the topics I’ve covered as specific posts whereas others have just got a look in here and there.
Oftentimes, I just record what I see close to home and note the changes and it’s always interesting in that more often than not, the urban landscape changes so gradually that one hardly notices the changes at all — a shop closes here, a café opens there and so forth. However, every now and then, there’s an event which draws attention to the changes either because of its scale or because it’s sudden. A building will be demolished, foundations are dug for a new building and then don’t pass by for a few weeks and all of a sudden there’s a skeleton of building rising out of the ground. But that’s material that will come in a later post.
Anyway, last week, I published a post on this blog that was overlong—although you may not remember—in which the text ran to well over 4,000 words and which, in retrospect, was in essence a book review with a couple of overlong quotations, with some unrelated photographs. Consequently, I owe you a post with lots of images and less text than average. So this time around, I have lots of pics (some of which might have appeared here before) and nothing too heavy in the way of text.
What most of these pictures have in common is that they relate to some form of regularity. My eye seems to be attracted to regularity, with things symmetry, with I like these sorts of things possibly—or more likely, probably, because these three epithets are direct opposites of the way I am myself. (I tend towards the chaotic and the unsystematic.)
Sometimes it’s no more than a wall that I think is worth photographing. In the picture immediately below, of the wall outside the Old Cemetery on Trumpeldor Street in Tel Aviv, the straight lines between the individual stones that comprise the wall are what attracted my eye. In the picture below it, on the outskirts of the perched village of Gordes in Provence, the stones are simply laid one on top of the other but the effect of regularity is very similar, as are the pebbles leading from the footpath to the Yarqon River in the park in Tel Aviv.
And although these stones that make up part of the retaining wall of the Regent’s Canal near Islington hardly illustrate regularity, let alone symmetry, there is something rather orderly about the disorder.
At other times, it’s water and things in the water, like the ripples created by the raindrops from the first rain of the season hitting the barely moving stream of the Yarqon in the park not far from where we live.
Or it might be something as mundane as a fountain where, when you photograph the scene at a fast shutter speed, the water just seems to stand still.
Or it may be the bloom on the Regent’s Canal in London where the water is covered by a thick plant blanket.
Then, you might come across something else animate that offers orderliness, like the cyclamens pictured below…
… or the fungi for sale at the Friday morning Farmers’ market at Tel Aviv Port.
And like the fungi above, which were attractive enough on their own before my intervention as a visual editor, sometimes I see things not so much for what they are but for what I think I can construct from it once I get home to the digital darkroom—i.e., the computer.
Occasionally, there are the things that I see that are attractive in and of themselves, in this case because of the contrast between the colours the red and the green. However, I knew as soon as I looked at it that I could make something far more exciting from it once I got to work.
Then there are times when you see something in colour and you know straight away that it going to look far more spectacular in black and white. That’s when you realise that colour may add life and reality to a subject but at the same time, it can detract from the overall impression.
There are also times when you take a picture and as you look through the viewfinder, you see straight away that a crop will add incredibly to the overall effect of the picture, like this wild flower in a field at Sagres, in the Algarve, southern Portugal.
On other occasions, just a clump of flowers might attract the eye …
… whereas a barrel of artichokes is difficult to beat — even when I think that the artichoke has to be the silliest vegetable to appear on menus!
There are so many other occasions on which nature allows you to see its regularity and symmetry such as this dragonfly parked on a window with a sky blue background.
Or here, in the pictures below, it’s a squirrel mirroring the curve of a thick branch on a tree along Haverstock Hill in London and a formation of ducklings in the Yarqon stream following in their parents’ wake.
Or it can be something as mundane as a shattered window pane that caused me to look and then to look again and again and then to click.
And somewhat strangely perhaps, I often find salt and pepper pots worth a shot …
… or the four chimney vents on top of a corrugated roof on top of one of the buildings in Tel Aviv Port or a corrugated wall in the same area …
…or as I look downwards (notwithstanding the exhortation expressed below), it might be a step on a moving escalator at any one of London’s many Tube stations.
… or it might even be the blank keys hanging on the wall of a locksmith’s shop on Ibn Gvirol Street in Tel Aviv …
… or the ever-changing reflections of light on the building housing Boots the Chemist at 193 Oxford Street that many people pass regularly but which few seem to notice because it’s not at street level but one floor above. (Many years ago, on a cold winter’s afternoon, standing outside on Wigmore Street in London as a result of a fire scare and waiting to re-enter Wigmore Hall to listen to Shuli and the other members of the Aviv Quartet perform, a retired architect standing beside me told me always to look upwards to find interesting things. And so right he was!)
Doors, too, make interesting subjects and it really doesn’t matter whether it’s a decrepit door near a public toilet or a grand door on Harley Street. Either way, they’re extremely photographable.
… or the “ceiling” of Barcelona’s La Sagrada Familia as you look straight up at it in absolute wonder.
Then there are things you see in shops that suggest orderliness and regularity, like the shoes in a shop in the Gothic Quarter or Barcelona or the dates and walnuts at the Friday Farmers’ Market at Tel Aviv Port.
… or the assortment of alcoholic beverages at the bar in a hotel in Northern Israel.
And kitsch and ripoff it may well be but the London Eye still provides the basis for an attractive image featuring regularity …
… as does the teapot I photographed in the cafeteria at the Royal Academy of Arts in London a few weeks ago.
Finally, to return to the aborted short break in the desert that I opened this post with. It may have been a fiendish couple of days but nevertheless it did yield a small number of decent photographs, so I’ll leave you with them.