Is there really anything other than nature?
In this image we see what can only be described as a very natural staircase; an interesting path of large limestone stairs that are so questionably "natural" it begs the question: "What is natural". In our modern world we spent so much time discussion the human impact on nature and it always makes me wonder where that line is drawn. At what point does man's endeavors become unnatural? Is it simply our manipulation of nature that renders it's very structure different in some way? If man is an animal, and all that is around us is the Earth which is made from what we deem "nature" than how is it even possible that anything we make is unnatural? The assumption that what we make is "unnatural" is presupposing we understand what would have happened through natural process in our absence. If a chimp were to come around and move a stone, is it then "unnatural"? Suppose then that we spend a summer's afternoon watching a robin build a nest. Surely we wouldn't look before the woven strands of straw and hay and think to ourselves, "What an abominable structure! How could such a creature make such an unnatural structure in this tree!"
So then when we adapt our surroundings to satisfy our needs, at what point does it become unnatural? I realize that this question is asked much in the same manor that Sorites asked how many grains of sand make up a heap. The simple fact is that there really isn't a line in the sand that defines what is and what isn't natural. We need to accept the world and our modifications of it as part of a greater image. We are nature, and what we do does not exist outside the realm of nature. The world is a wonderfully grey area, we need to preserve and to create to preserve what is here already for us. We need to be productive and adaptive and continue to grow and to prosper while conserving the idealistic Victorian beauty in the nature we hold so dear.
What then is trash at all?
This image pulls my mind in a few different directions; it evokes a slew of strange notions about litter and about it's effects on the world around us. Now I'm not going to argue that litter isn't a bad thing, because it is, it's a terrible thing, but this image also shows us that it's not a new thing either. This car was likely discarded from a vehicle along this country road some 20-30 years ago. The idea that litter is an awful thing dates back many decades before this, but doesn't this just prove that it's not such a big deal? It's not like it's impossible to take a hike in this world today without crawling through heaps and mounds of trash. It's not as if the world is coming to a standstill after decades and decades of littering. So is it really a big deal?
The other side to this image is the face that the litter remains here, in its resting spot, even after a couple or so decades. So this is evidence that litter is indeed a terrible thing that is much more permanent than we sometimes think. So this image then gives me a lot to think about. Part of me even wonders why I left the can there... it's almost an antique. Part from it's slightly faded print, it's still in really good shape. So what then constitutes litter at all? Is this just an antique waiting to be discovered and cherished, or is it just trash? Does the value of a discarded item determine it's position in the hierarchy of trash?
A penny tossed on the ground in rarely called litter, but then would an equal amount of copper wire carelessly strewn about the soil be any more or less of an offence? Just how do we classify litter then, and is it entirely a big deal at all?
From this angle... it's the same; but different.
I always like to study the world from unpopular angles. I love to take a fly-on-the-wall perspective where ever I can find it. This photo was taken at the base of Clifton Hill, Niagara Falls. The distressed mirror hangs perched on an old entrance gate to the old rail-car that lead to the maid of the mist. The mirror serves no purpose but to be ignored by hundreds of thousands of tourists every year.
The mirror allows us to see the familiar sights of the tourist district from a different angle. Within this broken piece of history, lays the present in a slightly different form. Discarded and waste, but still a piece in the puzzle that is the illusion that is Niagara Fall's tourist district. I like how this archaic piece of history is subtly and innocuously insignificant, and yet stands their reflecting ourselves back at us.
Happy Sushi is Happy :)
The last few posts have had interesting and deep connotations and I want to remind everyone that art can be funny too. (Not that I would call this "art", but it's still one of my cherished photographic memories.) This photo just sort of reminds me that it's okay to be a kid now-and-again. It's alright to laugh at the insignificant or mediocre things in life that might bring you a smile. This sushi, for example, was some of the most bland and boring sushi we ever made...and yet, a couple of them came out smirking at us, almost as it to say "Hey man, you fail!"
It's these little moments, the memories and little laughs and joys, that we need to cherish. These are the elements that keep us sane. These are little little moments of insanity that keep us going. If it wasn't for this little piece of paradoliatic-humour, I would probably have been disappointed in this sushi. Eating it with a smile however, somehow made it all better.
Life is best when it's shared with good friends, good times, and when taken with good humour. If we can't laugh at the random, can we really laugh at anything at all. So this photo just reminds me that life's hilarious...go out and enjoy it!
How much is really real...?
You may recognize this image from the Niagara Blog page. It's an image of a leaf created by artist Pearl Paul. the reason I love this photo so much is that nothing in it is really as it appears. That's not the moon in the background, nor is this even outside. It's a hallway of a university and it's not even autumn. The leaf is tissue paper and dye, the tree is just a bunch of dead twigs... This image makes me think that art imitates life, but often the things we love more about life are taken for granted. The simple idea that we can recreate a seemingly mundane scene, in the visual poetry of the plastic arts, is proof that, as people, we yearn to imitate our surroundings. It's a rare occasion that we find ourselves staring at something this redundant in real life but, as art, I couldn't take my eyes off it.
This photo takes me to places in my mind that, though not entirely fictional, do not exist; but are simply constructs of a different reality. So is this real? Is anything that we peer at through our monitors and lenses really real...how much of anything must be altered by the human spirit before what's authentic is no longer natural. Everything is real, it's the limits of reality that we must keep defining...altering...realizing.
Mysery Maze, Beat it!
This image is a simple one. As we wonder through life, almost aimlessly at times, we don't always look around at the subtle ironies. This sign caught our attention and made a whole lot of us laugh. The coincidental irony that an advertisement meant to attract guests to this tourist trap spells out a negative value for its customers. The most ironic point is made by their attempts to be funny with the "Get lost" slogan which produces the rare, illustrious and unforgettable "double-irony".
Sure, it doesn't actually say Misery verbatim, but the "Mysery Maze" is quite funny still.
Where your focus falls...
Might as well start with the banner image.
This photo was taken on the brink of the Niagara Escarpment between the Niagara Falls and the Rainbow Bridge. It's significance is to reflect how, as a local, we often ignore the iconography that is associated with the Niagara Falls. We take for granted the falls and their beauty and often pass by them with little focus on their culture, economical, and emotional significance on our daily lives as a citizen of the Niagara Region.
Only faintly can you distinguish the American Falls lit behind the main focus of the trees. I wanted to portray our lack of focus on the large things and our concentration on lesser and more mediocre aspects of the surrounding that we find ourselves in.