Saturday, 30 January 2010

Sunday, 24 January 2010

obsession of levitation

Yves Klein - The Leap Into the Void (or "Obsession of Levitation), 1960

"Today the painter of space must, in fact, go into space to paint, but he must go there without trickery or deception, and not in an airplane, nor by parachute, nor in a rocket: he must go there on his own strength, using an autonomous, individual force; in short, he must be capable of levitation."
Klein, "Selections from ‘Dimanche,’" in Overcoming the Problematics of Art, p.106.

Ironically, considering the above quote, this is an example of an early manipulated image, pre-Photoshop. The photograph was staged on October 19, 1960, with Klein’s judo pals holding a blue sheet to catch the levitating artist.

Saturday, 23 January 2010

vertigo expanded

In this quote, Solnit imagines the untold story of Midge, the friend of Scotty in Hitchcock's Vertigo played by Barbara Bel Geddes, and places her in a different realm from those other characters in the film, gives her the sensual pleasures of living in the present, and above all, a love of gravity.

"As for nature, I am in love with the elemental forces, with fire and water, with gravity, and evaporation and the properties of light, and there's as much of that in the city. It's in the way cream curls down into ice coffee and cigarette smoke coils up and the ice cubes in this drink are melting. I remember swinging in the backyard when I was a girl and scaring Johnny who lived next door and was just enough older to think he could supervise me, jumping off the crest of the arc and coming down with my skirt billowing like a parachute. She seemed to take pleasure in everything, to have a diffuse sensuality spread throughout the tangible world, in marked contrast to the protagonists chasing a conventional notion of satisfaction forever postponed. And so I gave her gravity, that sensation children pursue relentlessly, again and again, swinging, spinning,..."
Rebecca Solnit, A Field Guide to Getting Lost, p 147

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

a field guide to getting lost

"The mind too can be imagined as a landscape, but only the minds of sages might resemble the short-grass prarie in which I played with getting lost and vanishing. The rest of us have huge caverns, glaciers, torrential rivers, heavy fogs, chasms that open up underfoot, even marauding wildlife bearing family names."
Rebecca Solnit : A Field Guide to Getting Lost, p52

Sunday, 17 January 2010

christmas present

A christmas gift. Volume IV is a surprisingly extensive meditation on the structures and formations of mountains and mountain beauty. 

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Ruskin and photography

Some years back, I found this image by Ruskin of the 'Mer de glace, Chamonix'. It's one of the earliest photographs ever taken in the Alps. Ruskin made many historic early daguerreotype photographs in the 1840's and 1850's. However, in his Lectures on Art (1870) Ruskin expressed warnings for the use of photography and argued that it had a negative impact on art:

Let me assure you, once and for all, that photographs supersede no single quality nor use of fine art, and have so much in common with nature, that they even share her temper of parsimony, and will themselves give you nothing valuable that you do not work for. They
supersede no good art, for the definition of art is ‘Human labour regulated by human design’.

His original enthusiasm for photography arose out of it's mechanical aspect, however, and the media’s ability to deliver images with minimal involvement of human labour seems to be the very quality that impressed Ruskin deeply in his first contacts with daguerreotypes.


There was much hope of there being an outdoor Bonspiel (a large scale curling match) on the Lake of Menteith last weekend. Health and safety fears (ironically, regarding the surrounding roads and car parking) meant it was cancelled. There hasn't been one in 30 years, but the cold conditions meant that the requisite 7" of ice had built up making the spectacle possible. It's such a shame that the tournament wasn't able to go ahead, and I'm left wondering if there will be one the next time we get these conditions, with such parking and health and safety regulations ready to scupper the event. There are three locations in Scotland where they are held, but the ice at the other locations wasn't of the right quality this year (too much compacted snow on top of the ice making it uneven). The image above is from a Bonspiel held in Loch Leven many years ago. Looking for images of previous events, depictions of open air ones seem to be really quite rare.

Friday, 15 January 2010


I found this scalloped edge photograph in one of a set of three old family albums picked up in a fleamarket in Glasgow some years ago. I think the image dates from around c. 1930. The albums contain the holiday snaps of a wealthy Glaswegian family who regularly went on foreign holidays, mainly to Europe. I think this one is from the Swiss Alps.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

partial eclipse of a blue moon

(Image from flickr - moonmeister)

The curved shadow of Earth cast across the full moon. Being the 13th full moon of the year, it was a blue moon. An eclipsed blue moon is a one in a hundred year occurrence. Image taken on 31 December 2009

Thursday, 7 January 2010

to the hills part 2

passing place at Liathach
 Moruisg summit plateau after a slog breaking trail in thigh deep snow
shinty field, Achintraid, Kishorn
 leaving Kishorn and the Bealach na Ba after dawn.

New Year's Day

New Year's Day 2010 on the summit of Maol Chean Dearg, looking over to Beinn Alligin in Torridon, Scotland

New Year's Eve

The full (and also blue) moon on the last day of 2009 meant that the Applecross hills and the Bealach na Ba were clearly visible all night and moonlit walks were a distinct (if cold) possibility. This image was made at 11.00pm on New Year's Eve.