Monday, June 29, 2009

The marvellous mundane

click photo to enlarge
In life, as in photography, there is a great temptation to seek out the new, the sensational, the eyecatching, the exotic. Take food. In the UK we have embraced the cuisine of all nations to such an extent that the culinary delights that originated in England - black pudding, game pie, Bath buns, onion and apple pie, pork dumplings, brawn, Goosnargh cakes and the rest - have to be actively sought out, and frequently can't be found. The same is true of the British and holidays. I have worked with individuals who are more familiar with the Spanish coast, the Dominican Republic and the Italian Lakes than they are with the area within fifty miles of their home town, even when that area was one frequented by foreign tourists who marvelled at its beauty!

It seems to me that this sort of thing comes about because food and holidays are aspects of the conspicuous consumption that is a feature of western society. People choose the exotic over the familiar because it says something about them to others. The trouble with this attitude is that it can blind you to the simple joys that are part of everyday life. A glass of cold water on a hot day is often spurned for an expensive manufactured drink, yet "Adam's Ale" takes some beating as a thirst quencher.

Looking at my photograph of a very ordinary track across a not very scenic part of the Lincolnshire Fens prompted this train of thought. It was the beauty of the clouds in the clear sky, and the reflection of one in a newly formed puddle that caused me to take the photograph. The growing crops, the poles and wires, and the flat horizon are not obvious photographic fodder: in fact they are all very mundane. But the cloud and its reflection lifted the scene and made it appeal to me at the time, and it appeals still.

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 11mm (22mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/500 seconds
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: -0.7 EV
Image Stabilisation: On