Thursday, December 29, 2005

The graffiti over our heads

Aircraft vapour trails are a significant irritant to the landscape photographer. Only rarely do they add something to the image. Removing them in post processing is a chore, and isn't quite as easy as it might seem. However, when I came to photograph a public sculpture on the promenade at Blackpool, Lancashire, I decided to incorporate them as a sort of graffiti background that enlivened an otherwise fairly simple shot. The sculpture in question is "Desire" by Chris Knight, and it is one of a series by different artists intended to add interest to the southern seafront.

And now for something only slightly connected to the above - a helpful hint for those who wish to stimulate conversation at a flagging party or dinner! Suggest that cheap air travel and the tourism it propagates are unmitigated disasters - then duck! You can throw in as many arguments as you like about the environmental cost (the carbon emissions for each passenger on an average length flight equal those of a year's average use of a car), or the extent of the subsidy that we all pay (no duty on aviation fuel), or the noise pollution inflicted on millions, or the essential hollowness of the tourist experience as compared to travel ("The traveller sees what he sees. The tourist sees what he has come to see." G.K. Chesterton), or even the white graffiti scrawled across our skies. Whatever you say, no matter how good your arguments, or how eloquently you express them, I guarantee that at the end of the "heated" discussion you won't have converted a single soul. And I'll leave you to reflect on why that might be.
photograph & text (c) T. Boughen