21 October 2012

PHOTOGRAPHY: Sculpture by the Sea

There is, each year, on the cliff walk from Tamarama to Bondi beaches, in Sydney, Australia, a 'Sculpture by the Sea' exhibition. We went to see the 2012 exhibition early on Sunday morning 21 October — early for light, also early before the Sunday crowds. There were lots of people there already.

It is not an easy thing for the exhibitors to compete against extraordinary scenery, a mass of alive people, a parade of animals, not just people's pets but also (we estimated) perhaps a hundred dolphins hunting in the waters below the cliffs. I have not tried to produce a catalogue, the images include some of the distractions, some things that catch the eye with beauty extraordinary or ordinary.

Nature provides its own spectacle... and (below) the passing human parade provides proportion

This object provided dramatic contrast with natural forms. The net below, placed near the steps above, when looked at directly did not have the same force as that above. But looked at from the south, looking into the morning sun, and with humans turning their backs to it, to see the sea, it gets context.

Is the fisherman planning theft?
With the worshipping photographer, this seems to have a religious quality.
It is indeed a photographer's day out.
He with the professional air is Gary Blackman aka Manly Beach Adventure Photography.
I deliberately over-exposed the shot, looking into the morning sun reflected off sky and sea,
to intensify focus on the main subjects.
I take the liberty of not straightening the quickly-taken image
so as to add weight to the leaning on the donkey. 

Mainly people just walked past this, but it intrigues.
Clearly something happens to the seas below this cliff.
The 'Southern Oscillation' of the Pacific Ocean, which sweeps water up the coast of Chile and Peru and then westward before turning southward along the east Australian coast means that there is a point on Australia's east coast where warm water from the north meets cold water from the south — a point which moves north and south depending on the strength or weakness (causing El Niño weather patterns) of the Southern Oscillation.
I don't think this is that point, but I wondered... and I could not resist mentioning  :-)
Apart from the sea itself, there was a lot of human interest in dolphins fishing below.
I don't have a dolphin photo...

These next photos show works in human context

while these next photos show intriguing objects without human context

... and as we have a lot of bamboo on our own property, we realise this first photo offers a new idea on how to keep birds at a distance from fruit.

—and these photos taken inside the dome have an eye- and brain-confusing quality
that did not exist when your eye is there. 
Photography is not a literal record, not a copy.  It has its own life.[CLICK ON PHOTOS TO ENLARGE]

I continue to be distracted by or engaged by the crowd.
Towards 10am the crowd is thickening.
People are interesting,
in themselves and in the things they do and especially in their self-absorption.
Some see more than others. Only once did I hear a sniping use of the word 'gillard' — by an older puffing woman, interestingly as a new noun, perhaps for the Macquarie Dictionary***, not as a proper noun:
"You're not going to do a gillard are you?"
*** I've put the link from 'Macquarie Dictionary' to the Guardian newspaper report. 
The Guardian, unlike any Australian newspaper, 
notes that Macquarie were a decade behind the Oxford Dictionary
in making a change in definition of misogyny.

often enough in galleries I am distracted from the 'installations' 
to admire small miracles of non-artist origin, as below

Towards the northern end, creative items using common objects:
 one for fun in own context, one doing something quite original

and then to arrive at Bondi Beach... people, nature and objects