The black and white photograph of my granddaughter was taken at Anglesey Abbey in Cambridgeshire. The painting below, which many of you will be very familiar with, set in the coastal landscape of Maine was created by the American artist Andrew Wyeth. Wyeth’s painting is a penetrating psychological portrait and a vivid representation of the inner world of Christina Olson who, because of a muscle degenerative disease, was unable to walk. It is undoubtedly a powerful and memorable image. When I took the ‘shot’ of Sienna, she had just befriended a tiny snail on a leaf and was gingerly carrying it up the embankment; she had already given it a suitable name and was completely lost in her own imaginary world. When I looked at the photograph later, I immediately recognised the composition I had unwittingly borrowed. The house, the gradual incline, the perspective and the viewpoint. Of course the psychological drama was necessarily absent but it does reveal the extent to which we make aesthetic judgements based on our previous experience.
‘Look Before You Leap’
By Order of
Galway City Council
Swimming in the open sea is an Irish tradition and they clearly relish this encounter with the primal element. On a windswept coast in Galway, precariously balanced on top of a diving platform, I found myself taking photographs. Apparently, people of all ages fearlessly jump off here into the waves far below. I spoke to a very friendly local man in his 40’s who told me that only two years ago he had broken ‘his fecking neck’ jumping off the platform. He seemed to have made a full recovery from the accident. Indeed, this was clearly a significant achievement in his life and a moment of considerable personal pride. I could only agree, mission accomplished… I was ‘fecking’ impressed.
This was taken looking towards the Temple Bar district on the left back of the river.