If that title doesn’t get my wife singing Blondie hits nothing will.
For me though, it relates to a picture that I took this morning. I’d been to a meeting in Boldon‘s Quadrus Centre (a hideous blot on the landscape that has done well to escape comment in the blog!) and was snooping around the small lake beside it for a suitable shot as this is where I spotted the heron a couple of weeks back. I didn’t get far though as I was marched off the premises by one of the lake’s residents who was unimpressed that I had brought no food with me!
As I was having no joy at ground level, I happened to look up and was captivated by what I did see… power lines. No I haven’t completely lost my mind, because from where I was standing the parallel cables were drawn to the centre of my viewfinder by the effects of perspective. What’s more there was so little detail in the sky I was able to exaggerate the effect by removing everything except pure black and white, so creating a stark and abstract image that appealed to me. (Come to think of it that Blondie album cover is predominantly black and white too).
My image feels crisp and mechanical, and would be better suited to a Kraftwerk cover I think, though if you look closely there is a sign of life. (Spot the pigeon!)
I don’t think I’ll be selling copies of it very soon, but then you never know do you? The world’s most expensive photograph was sold at auction last November for $4.3m. Created by a German photographer, Andreas Gursky, it is entitled Rhein II, and is a photograph of the Rhine taken looking from one bank to another with fairly flat lighting.
You would think that this river scene might contain some interest (like my white feathered assailant) but the only detail comes from the varied blades of grass, the waves on the water’s surface and what looks like a tiny piece of litter in the foreground. It is little more than a collection of parallel lines.
To be fair, I’ve found such imagery captivating too. I remember shooting similar images for a while after Gursky’s opus hit the headlines.
It seemed like someone else thought the same way when I went looking for my portrait today, for as I stopped on the promenade I could just make out a small black blob at the water’s edge. Resembling the way the Black Egret curls its wings to make an umbrella with which to shade the waters in which it is hunting, this shape also seemed to consist of little more than a black umbrella, but it had more legs than any egret. It was a photographer trying to shelter under a brolly while bending down to a short tripod.
I had to go down to meet them, hoping to both see what they were shooting and persuade them to be my subject for today. I was surprised on getting closer however to find that my fellow snapper was a pretty and diminutive South African girl called Thembeka (a Xhosa name variously described as meaning “hope”, “reliable” or “object of trust”). She is a photography student at the university, and was shooting all those horizontal lines out at sea.
I went back to converging lines and used her umbrella as a backdrop. All those struts draw you in to those bright eyes, though let’s face it, they’re superfluous.