Saturday, September 08, 2012

Anno, Wally and scrap metal

click photo to enlarge
When my children were small one of the books they enjoyed was "Anno's Journey"(1977) by the Japanese author and illustrator, Mitsumasa Anno. This was one of a series that chronicled the journey of a character through various landscapes and countries. "Anno's Britain" and "Anno's USA" were two further titles that I recall they liked. The charm of these books lay in the fascinating detail of the drawing. There were no words, just full page illustrations from which the child could invent their own narrative based on the activities (some very humorous) that they noticed. They were books to return to often, and which had appeal for a relatively wide age range. Studying the detailed drawings was the underpinning attraction of these books. This was something taken up by the British illustrator, Martin Hanford, in his "Where's Wally" ("Where's Waldo" in the U.S.) series. Hanford added the twist that Wally was difficult to find on each page, and whilst the first aim was invariably to find Wally, after that task had been completed the rest of the page could be scoured for all that it held. Children took to these books as much as they did to Anno's - perhaps more.

On a recent visit to Newark in Nottinghamshire I took a photograph from a bridge of the local metal scrap yard. It was a hive of noise and activity as workers, grab cranes, delivery and collection drivers busied themselves with the process of turning waste metal into a form suitable for transport and recycling. My long lens compressed the scene making it look more of a disorganised jumble than I imagine it is. Moreover, when I looked at the shot I noticed more people than I'd seen when I pressed the shutter. I set about counting how many there were, and immediately remembered Anno and Wally! Such is the way that the human mind - OK, my mind - works!

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Camera: Canon
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 97mm
F No: f8
Shutter Speed: 1/200
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation:  -0.67 EV
Image Stabilisation: On