Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Peonies and WAGS

click photo to enlarge
The styling of cars goes in waves - one decade, say the 1970s, it's all angular edges like the origami folds of the first VW Golf. Move on ten years and curves are back. Then, just as we've got used to those, retro pops its head up in the guise of cars like the PT Cruiser, the "new" Beetle and the re-vamped Mini. So too with clothing fashions. Year after year corduroy jackets are available, then suddenly the rails sport not a one. You resign yourself to life without this essential, then one day are amazed to see them back again!

I thought about this the other day when I was looking at a photograph of a group of "WAGS" in my newspaper. For the uninitiated these are the "wives and girlfriends" of our over-paid Premier League footballers. As with cars and clothing their appearance has converged to a "type" that is tanned, lip-glossed, ear-ringed, with long streaked blond hair, short skirts, and a glass of champagne in the right hand. How, I wondered, do their partners tell one from the other? And does it matter? However, my wife was on hand to enlighten me: "That's what the tattoos are for!" she perceptively said. I hadn't thought about it before, but there had to be a reason for tattoos beyond vanity and group identity: and, after it was pointed out to me, their role in helping their men to tell one from the other now seems so obvious. Maybe, in time, today's tribal patterns, fey flowers and dinky Chinese script will gradually evolve to a more functional tattooed barcode that more properly reflects their status as the property of the rich? Now that I know the real purpose of these tattoos life makes a little more sense than it did!

What has this to do with a close-up of a peony bloom? Well, colour combinations come and go in waves too. Turquoise paired with brown has recently forced itself on my consciousness, appearing on household goods ranging from duvet covers to place mats. The designs have a retro/Op Art/1960s feel. Presumably one designer felt it was time to look back, and the rest agreed. I hope that pairing pink with yellow isn't the next combination. This mixture reminds me of ice-creams and fun fairs - a garish combination that no right minded person would put together. However, it is said that the colours in nature never clash, and though I have seen the occasional garden planting that disproves that rule, it is broadly true. So I do like the pink and yellow as it occurs in this plant in the photograph. I captured the bloom on my window sill, a warm shaft of sunlight to the left, the colder light of the room to the right. I increased the intensity of the blue just a touch to introduce a third colour to the ensemble.

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 35mm macro (70mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f16
Shutter Speed: 1/40
ISO: 200
Exposure Compensation: 0 EV
Image Stabilisation: On