Friday, 26 October 2012

Life's Little Pleasures (5)

This is my fifth post on LLPs (Life’s Little Pleasures).  Post (1), Post (2), Post (3) and Post (4) can be seen by clicking on the links.

I See You
“It’s one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like,
it’s another thing to make a portrait of who they are.”
~ Paul Caponigro

Images – Some time in my early forties I got utterly, numbingly bored with thinking about diets and weight, and the effort that went into marshalling my dwindling supplies of willpower, and with my hardly being aware of it my mind turned to other things.  John was about to retire and his firm organised a testimonial cricket match in his honour, which took place one golden sunny evening.  The slanting sun gave off lovely shadows and the white kit they all wore looked almost butter yellow in the setting sun – and I wondered what it would be like to keep those colours in a good picture.  My little instamatic camera didn’t seem adequate anymore and I started to read camera magazines to learn more about it.  It wasn’t long before I was given a single lens reflex camera for Christmas and was launched into an absorbing new world. 

Thousands of slides later the world went digital and my photo world changed again for the better.  I discovered there were such things as slide and negative scanners, and after 3,000 scans it’s a small but unique pleasure to realise that many of the slides I had kept were duds in the conventional sense, because they were underexposed or had been poorly framed – and here was my chance to correct these mistakes on the computer, and even better, I could display them on my blog and they wouldn’t be left to rot in a corner.  The technology which allows me to improve my images has given me many individual little pleasures every time a picture appears on my screen which I know can be ‘fixed’.  Very occasionally I know I have a winner, and that’s very special.  You see my pictures regularly on the "Photo Finish" section at the end of my posts.

The problem with art galleries is that they seem to be mainly for people who take their art seriously – because they don’t mind viewing them from a standing position.  I can’t take in very much unless I can sit down to do it, and these establishments rarely offer you chairs near the paintings.  However tell me about it on a screen and you have all my attention.  It isn’t my favourite expression of culture, but there are works that give me pleasure to look at.  Bristolian painter William James Muller (1812-1845) produced some wonderful work of the Bristol Riots of 1831, which I have shown in Part 4 of my posts about the opera on the subject written by my partner John Humphreys, Clifton Town, set during the riots. (Link here) Muller’s rendition of buildings on fire is rich and exciting, and I love looking at them.   For economy of line and perfect balance, Picasso’s Don Quijote is unique –

Colours there are some colours that fill you with an abstract pleasure just by looking and losing yourself in them.  For me it’s certain shades of green and perhaps some blue swirled in (my sister once gave me pillowcases like that when I was a teenager – I still use them). 

For my Dad who worked in the world of ceramics and glazes colour was key, and he would enthuse over rich shades of red – the ones known as bulls blood, ruby and deep magenta. 
Mum loved all shades of pink, particularly the darker ones, and wine red.  Enjoying photography as I do blue-greens are my favourites, but most colours are sensational when on a transparent medium and seen backlit – blue glass, spring or autumn leaves with the sun behind them...

Trees -  I get emotional about trees.  Their height and beauty, the shade they offer, the sounds they make in the breeze, the fact that many started before us and will continue after we are long gone.  Their mysterious nobility inspires awe; their eternal quality comforting.  And yet they die too, and there are few sights sadder than a stricken tree. 

The Ombú (Phytolacca dioica)

 A play that made a deep impression on me as a teenager was Los Árboles Mueren de Pie, (Trees Die on Their Feet) by Spanish playwright Alejandro Casona, which compared the matriarch grandmother in the story, with a tree, following the treachery of her grandson which has broken her heart.  She says

“Let them not see me fallen. 
Dead inside, but on my feet. 
Like a tree.”

Quotes with which I strongly identify, such as this one, are some of life’s little pleasures.  As a teenager searching for my identity, I used to keep a large exercise book with all my favourite quotations.  Did you?  What are your favourites?


Photo Finish
- from Lonicera's non-digital archive



Sara said...

First of all, your photos are always beautiful. But you have really caught my interest with the butterflies today. And the ruby and blood reds are the colors that make my heart race.

I always feel good when wearing red. And I like a touch of red in my quilts although that isn't always practical. I also love rich jewel tones of blue, green, or purple.

Lonicera said...

My dad reacted exactly like you with red - he'd gaze at a pearlescent red car as if mesmerised!

If you've read other posts of mine you might remember I've mentioned the inherited jewellery I had that was stolen - and like you I adored looking at the stones and losing myself in their translucent colours. Their beauty would take my breath away. As a child when I was sick in bed the great treat was to be allowed to look at these when they were my mother's. I didn't try them on or play with them - I just wanted to gaze upon them in wonder...! I must have been a magpie in my other life.

Thanks for the very welcome comments Sara.


Coral Wild said...

I love all your photos but the Rose stands out today.
Like you I love the time I spend at my computer "cleaning up" my photos - none get published with out a little enhancement:)
And like you again - green / blue are my mesmerising colours - that's one reason I have posted so much on spring this year - the spring leaf colour is just out of this world!

Lonicera said...

Thanks Sue - there's nothing like green leaves in contrejour, is there...

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