Thursday, December 14, 2006

Made to last?

click photo to enlarge
"It's better to burn out, than to fade away", Neil Young (1945- ), Canadian-born musician

Neil Young's not fading away, but still enjoying life and making good music that people want to hear. And the surviving members of The Who, who sang "hope I die before I get old", continue to do what they do best, and now positively revel in their longevity.

It seems that the idea of living fast and dying young is less celebrated than it was, though there will always be those who recklessly follow that path. No, today it is "things" that we don't want to last. Our society, at a time when the environmental cost of a short product life is becoming very evident, is still hooked on "buy-use-dispose-replace". Furthermore, our industrial skills are now such that we can easily make products cheaply that will last a lifetime. However, even when we've bought potentially long-lasting articles we still cast them aside and replace them with new ones, just for the sake of fashion. I was recently hearing about "must have" kitchen work-tops made of granite being torn out and used as building rubble, and being replaced by the next "must have" surface. Buying a product quarried from the earth that can last a lifetime, using it for a few years, then replacing it with the latest craze is unforgivable - it should be a criminal act! The same applies to stainless steel kitchenware. The cutlery, pans and other utensils made of this durable material are, apparently, replaced with broadly the same frequency as plastic and aluminium. It seems absolutely pointless to buy and use an enduring material like stainless steel if you don't take advantage of all its qualities.

My photograph shows two stainless steel utensils that, in view of what I've written above, had better last a lifetime! The smooth, gleaming, pierced metal, with those regularly spaced holes seemed a suitable subject for an "abstractish" macro shot. I arranged them in an overlapping, balanced composition, maximising shine, shadows and reflections, and gave the shot a slight green cast. I used a 70mm (35mm equivalent) macro lens set to Aperture Priority (f18 at 1/80), with the ISO at 100, and the EV at -1.0.
photograph & text (c) T. Boughen