Sunday, May 11, 2008

Imperfect nature

click photo to enlarge
Yesterday The Guardian newspaper carried an article about some Spanish property developments. These gated communities, constructed around Jack Nicklaus designed golf courses, feature identikit white painted, tiled-roofed, balconied "villas" set among impossibly green manicured lawns, lollipop trees and blue lakes. The photographs that accompany the article look like computer-generated images, so "perfect" are these homes for British expats who fancy a life of sun and golf. Apparently there is some concern over whether they will all sell, due to a market slump. However, that aspect of the report didn't interest me. I was just morbidly fascinated by the pictures.

Why would anyone want to live in a such a soulless place, a haven for the rich set in an area of relative poverty, a community with no history that looks like Toy Town? But then I reflected, perfection, an unattainable goal, seems to be the aim of many people today. Advertisers and T.V. programmes urge us to aspire to the perfect house in the perfect location filled with perfect consumer durables, taking "dream" holidays in "idyllic" locations. Maybe these developments in Spain give you all that for one big dollop of cash, and you can rest content that you've attained your perfect dream. Or is it a nightmare?

Today I picked this Cornflower (Centaurea montana) from my garden. It was one of many blooms on the plant, all of them radiating their distinctive petals. There is a pleasing flawed perfection about these flower heads. They could have perfect symmetry, but the tips of the petals refuse to co-operate and twist in all directions. It's a quality I like about the plant. However, picking up my theme for the day I decided to present this flawed flower against a background that strived for perfection! I laboured long and hard with the shadows, the shading and the colours. I'm unsure whether or not I like the finished image - it's a bit Mothers' Day cardish. But, since it's quite different from my usual flower shots I'm posting it anyway!

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 35mm macro (70mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f8
Shutter Speed: 1/80
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: 0 EV
Image Stabilisation: Off
Flash: FL36 bounced