Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Curve stitching, string art and organ pipes

click photo to enlarge
When I was in primary school, aged about ten years old, a teacher introduced us to curve stitching - the art/mathematics of arranging straight lines in such a way that they produced optical curves and circles. First of all we were shown how to do it with a ruler and pencil on paper, then we progressed to making pictures using this principle: that involved card and coloured threads. I seem to recall that my piece of work involved a yacht under sail on a rolling sea with the sun overhead. It was engrossing fun. Pictures made in this way are often called "string art", though there is very little art involved in the process.

Those lessons from decades ago came to mind when I was processing this photograph of some church organ pipes. The builder of this particular instrument - G. M. Holdich of 4 Judd Place East, New Road, King's Cross, London, according to an affixed plate - had arranged the mouths of the pipes in a curve that was higher in the centre. This gave me the opportunity to select an ogee section of these in the viewfinder and compose a shot that incorporated a "line of beauty." However, when I came to process the image on the computer what should have been obvious, had I given it any thought, then struck me quite forcibly: the "curve" was actually made of a series of horizontal lines each stepped slightly in relation to the other. Not curve stitching proper, perhaps, but a curve made of straight lines, nonetheless, hence my memory of the fun in school.

These organ pipes are not as decorative as those I posted a while ago. However, a bright day was causing them to reflect shafts of sunlight on stone columns and walls that were coloured by light through stained glass in such a way that I thought them worthy of a photograph

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Lumix LX3
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 5.1mm (24mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f2
Shutter Speed: 1/50
ISO: 80
Exposure Compensation: 0 EV
Image Stabilisation: On