Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Where now for a litter obsessed creative ?

abstract from someone else's bin

I am back from down under unexpectedly early.

Enjoying the pre-spring sunshine and doing a bit of spring cleaning and pruning in the garden.
All very therapeutic, but a big question looms.

What next, artistically?

I find myself without a project, uncertain of what or why I am doing in my creative life.

So much so, that I have applied for a mentoring session with ABC projects atelier  in the hope of finding some answers and a kick up the back side.

Asked by ABC projects to write why I wanted to do this, I found that the very act of writing made me more aware of some of the reasons behind my dilemma.

I wrote..... that I am no longer satisfied with taking photographs as an endpoint. That I also enjoy making books and writing. Which leaves me wondering what to call myself. Abstract landscape photographer no longer fully describes my intentions. Angry eco warrior fits the bill a bit better right now.

I wrote that I am obsessed with litter and the state of the environment in general.

at my local bus stop - a new source of litter - nitrous oxide chargers

Litter is my problem..... other people around me don't seem to find it troubling.
My frustration is driving OH ( my other half) a bit crazy.

Being angry is unhelpful to my wellbeing, and unconstructive.

So what to do?

I searched for some quotes that might help;

"If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude. Don't complain."

Maya Angelou

You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger. Buddha
Read more at:
You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger. Buddha
Read more at:
Time to stop complaining.

Change my attitude.

Accept that people often make art about what is most important to them. Go with it.......

But what about my photography, and book making?

How does this fit with my current obsession?

bottle, Moeraki beach

I don't want to keep making photographs of litter. And yet, I don't have anything else that currently drives me.

So I am going to allow litter to take me down new paths, do some research, and see where that leads.

I started with a search of images of litter, garbage and trash on the web that are available for public use.

The titles are often amusing or bizarre; here is one showing evidence that littering rules are sometimes obeyed.....

Evidence That Littering Rules Are Sometimes Obeyed 05/1973, Original Caption: On Coeur D'alene Lake

 I had not thought of other uses of the word, such as a litter of puppies, a litter to carry someone on, or leaf litter in a forest.

There are hundreds of images of hand litters to choose from.

And quite a few litters of puppies, but only one story about a woman, Mary Tofts, who tricked doctors into thinking that she had given birth to a litter of rabbits.

I think she might have come off the set of the recent film, The Favourite.

Mary Tofts, who duped several eminent doctors into believing she had given birth to a litter of rabbits, twelve scenes.
You can see the story in more detail at the Wellcome Collection

And then I came across this lady, luxuriating in bed for an electric blanket advertisement in 1948. We don't get to see the carpet sweeper that keeps dirt and litter in her home at bay, but you can read all about it under the image.

Text Appearing After Image:

Sleep snug and warm under the new light-as-a-jeather Simmons Electronic Blanket (shown above), Dept. J, every blessed part of you feelat peace at last! What a moment! What a moment!And to think that all this comfort is yours nightafter night—not for just a few years—but for at leastTEN years! Thats Beautyrests guarantee! I, Milwaukee 9, only $4£.50 plus excise tax, such a luscious, 

Text Appearing Before Image:

The only carpet sweeper with MOV-O-MATIC Combs thatmove in and out of the brush to keep it clean. Only a cleanbrush can sweep clean! Whisks up dirt and litter in lesstime with less effort! No need to hand-clean brush. No tiring handle pressure. Adjust-O-Matic Brush sweeps with equalease on thick or thin rugs. Wheels never need Ask your dealerKmonSaJon. E. R? Wagner Mfg. Co., toe-wriggling stretch!A warm feeling of repose comes over you. Tensionleaves you. The strain of the day vanishes. Your nerves, W*s. WRGI1ER KOMB-KLEANEPSWEEPER Gette*. Sautoi^PICK-UP © 1948 LADIES HOME JOURNAL April, WAT WONPEZFUL, WOWE&FUL MOMENT/ 1. Its bedtime. Youve had a busy day. You slipbetween the sheets on your new Beautyrest andstretch . . . oli, your muscles

But I digress.

Some litter images are more to the pointof my intended search....

rats love litter

camel litter ( dung) being disposed of by burning

bread mould

 I am heading down a rabbit hole, with no idea where it will lead......

A sad doll story perhaps..

Inside a yellow bin

Roadside garbage....

roadside garbage..... my local litter problem pales in comparison

A fruit fly; up close and personal. Lover of rotting fruit and vegetables.

Inside a blue bin

A dirt road on a glass photographic plate

Some health hints for an air raid shelter

Eutrophication........algal bloom in a lake due to excessive pollution with nutrients

And finally, a couple of vintage photographs, described as being found in a 'trash-picked' book.

A motley collection of images that led me to some amazing resources and digital libraries.

I will save those for next time.

And leave you with an image of Mars from Wikimedia Commons

Which got me thinking that there is no litter in space.....

Until I found this.

Space junk described by NASA

With regards the litter that lines every road that I walk or drive along, I cannot pick it all up, but I do pick up what I can carry, and so far this week I have filled quite a few bags from my local streets.

The M20 is a different kettle of fish.....

And space trash is right out of my reach.

For now.

Saturday, 16 February 2019

learning the hard way - so here I am ( back from down under)

I made a mistake.

I went to New Zealand to work for one last time, but it all felt wrong.

Things change. 

I have changed.

Where previously I relished the solitude and freedom, this time I was overcome by the darkness of my accomodation and the isolated place that I found myself in.

I upped sticks in the middle of a sleepless night and got on a plane back home.

I let people down, and for that I am sorry.

But sometimes we know what we need to do, and this was one of those times.

My actions bring to mind the poem of the recently deceased poet Mary Oliver, entitled 'The Journey'

It feels fitting to my recent circumstances, even though possibly intended to describe more radical changes of direction in life.

The Journey by Mary Oliver

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice–
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
‘Mend my life!’
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognised as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do–
determined to save
the only life you could save.


And as James Joyce said in Ulysses

'think you're escaping and run into yourself.  Longest way round is the shortest way home'


It is good to be home.

Saturday, 2 February 2019

walking the Paekakariki escarpment track

fantail, from artwork at Pukerea station

I am back down under.

In north island, New Zealand.

Fo two months of work in rural Wairarapa, about an hour north of Wellington. An escape from the cold and dark of an English winter.

Coming to an unknown place to work is always a bit of a gamble.

My previous three visits have been a total success, so I felt that I might tempting fate to make one last working visit before I hang up my stethoscope.

And the first week has been a real challenge.

Barely over my jet lag I was thrown into full time work. Something that I haven't done for a while.

It was a long week.

I am staying in a converted barn next to a large mansion in the middle of the woods.

It is a bit dark. under the trees ...

there are a lot of flies....

and there is no wi-fi.

I am challenged to be positive about my chance to live in the proper countryside.

And if you are living next to a field of cows, I do not recommend opening the window whilst cooking bolognese sauce.

Every fly in the district turned up in my kitchen to check out the good smells.

This is my road... I live in those trees.

My other half (OH) has been very supportive at the end of a phone in London.

He says I need a project.

So far I have only come up with one on dead insects.

Hopefully I can improve on that with a bit more time.

I decided to spend the weekend at the beach, for some bright open vistas and a fly free environment.

I chose Paekakariki. A very small seaside resort between the coast and the railway.

The sun shone brightly, and I decided to walk the escarpment track. 800 steps, and 10 km along the clifftop.

I thought the exercise might clear my head.

on the right track

I dressed appropriately. I carried many more clothes than was necessary., expecting a cold wind on the clifftop.

 Everyone else was in singlets, trainers and shorts.

The first 2km were uninspiring. A stroll beside the railway tracks.

The flowers were cheerful though.

I prepared myself for a steep, exposed, on the edge walk, and started the climb.

Up the hill was blue and sunny.

Kapiti island from Paekakariki

There is a lot of effort locally to reintroduce native species to the hillside.  Native shrubs are being planted, and there are mice traps to encourage bird life.

There were no real lizards to be seen in the lizard garden.

Down below ran trains and vehicles on the main coastal road.

Paekakariki escarprment

Kapiti Island
There were many steps.

I stopped a lot.

Higher and higher.

I watched the clouds.

Up and down.

Down and up....

And then two lovely swing bridges across steep gullies.

nearing Pukerua Bay

Finally the path descends towards Pukerua.

Back along the railway, and just when you think you have nearly finished, another 2km of track side walking to Pukerua station.

It took me three hours at a leisurely pace. I tested all the benches along the way.

A local train service picked me up and delivered me back to where I had started.

Paekakariki station

Back to the beach road deli, for a well earned snack.

Paekakariki beach road deli

After that I felt so much better that I went to the beach for a long walk and some beach combing.

There appeared to be a sand castle competition going on.

Industrial sized spades and buckets were in use.

The results were impressive.

a bit more serious than the normal bucket and spade....

sand castle

sand castle

Along the shore I found fragments of sand dollars.

The inside of a sand dollar is delicate and beautiful.

A bit better than a dead fly.....