Like everyone else, people I know send me stuff online that they get from people they know. Lee Juskalian, who used to work on development in Providence until moving to California a couple of decades ago, occasionally sends me photographs, in this case photos he has received from a friend of his, Robin Georgeff. Where she gets them, I don’t know. These are indeed amazing shots of the natural world – in which I would include the one on top of this post of a road in Wiltshire, England. I had trouble deciding which of two shots from Robin to put on top. I chose Wiltshire because the cottages seem almost literally of the natural world. The shot of the pyramids from a street (seemingly cut through rock) in Cairo takes its place on the bottom of this post. It, too, is an extraordinary shot, partly because you never see the pyramids as they are seen from Cairo, and partly because, in this shot, they seem to be floating on air in the distance. Most of these are photographs of nature, but some feature architecture or urbanism. They are all astounding in their way. They were compiled by a website called Izismile.com, and sent to me by Lee on August 5. Thank you, Lee! Thank you Robin! Enjoy!
I had planned to link to Lee’s email, which has all the rest. Unfortunately, I could not find a way to import it onto this post – barred for security reasons, according to WordPress. However, I will screenshot those I consider the most fabulous of 40 total below, following the pyramids. (The captions are at the top of each image. I found after publishing that I forgot to give the caption on the seventh photo down, of Tokyo.) Not long after I also found a link to the photos on the Izismile website. Press that link – here – and you can see which photos I left on the cutting room floor, giving you an opportunity to damn my judgment. So again, have fun!
The blue butterflies in the Amazon rainforest in Brasil are exquisite. Butterflies are everyday creatures normally, but the photo catches the unusual colour and the rare cluster.
It goes to show. Some images need to be huge (lightning, glaciers, the City of Paris…. but some images can be tiny.
David The village street is Castle Combe, Wiltshire, with a “t”. I loved the rest of the pictures. Keep up the good work, you have great perseverance. All the best Andrew
Thank you, Andrew. I corrected the spelling of Wiltshire soon after publishing, as it was noticed by an early reader. My perseverance is driven, I think, by my astonishment that modern architecture has even survived until today, let alone thrived. How can it be so? It should be so easy to make it go poof! I suppose that’s the perseverance you mean.
Beautiful, but.., and, some of these photos are pimped. One could also say ‘artistically enhanced’, but the historical practice of the painting of nature did not develop because the technology of photography and technicolour hadn’t been invented, but because nature in itself is a bore.
Or better said, it is the human spirit which enhances nature, but not through the pornography of ‘exactness’, pimped copies and cheap tricks, products of the dictatorship of button pushing technology.
Oscar Wilde wrote a nice essay about it, The Decay of Lying, where he argued that the beauty which humans see in nature is wholly a product of their spirit, and of the art which it produces.
” All bad art comes from returning to Life and Nature, and elevating them into ideals. “
John, I do feel your pain, but I think it is equally valid to attribute the beauty of our perception of nature to nature, most of all, with some credit to our ability to perceive nature. Our spirit tempts us to enjoy our perception of nature, but does not replace our eyes as tools to see it. The manipulation of the images digitally is not an attempt to lie but an attempt to clarify. We cannot see, for example, the glory of a bubble bursting in real time, so stop-action and, perhaps, color enhancement here play the role of, say, a microscope in the more utilitarian need to see, say, what germs are up to. I love Oscar, but his spirit may be said to give way to Occam’s razor.
‘Glory’ is solely a concept of spirit.
Clarification, we certainly do not want to ‘clarify’ by zooming into what we discharge from our bowels, or zooming into the content of our digestive organs.. perhaps only if the zooming in goes far enough, microscopically deep.. Clarification is thus a matter of how far you want to go (‘want’ to go when it concerns aesthetics).
If you’d take pee, and you’d zoom into it when splattering in the sunshine, it could make a wonderful image.
What I think I have just proved with the above, is that in case of images of nature which are the product of enhancing our eyes by means of technology, we select, we zoom into it, we clarify, and we enhance that what our mind desires to see in terms of form and colour. Sometimes the zooming in and enhancing is the product of scientific research, but outside of the scientific practice itself, we select images which science and technology affords us in terms of aesthetics. They undoubtedly produce a lot of boring or ugly stuff.
We take from reality that what we appreciate aesthetically, and what we consider to be a whole, the latter allows such a characterization of ‘glory’ to be added for instance. We still do that when using modern technology, and though it is put forward as plain reality or near reality, it is a lie, based upon our preferences, it is highly selective and often enhanced. Which is good, because ‘usual’ reality is a bore, art is lying (or, imagination).
“I think it is equally valid to attribute the beauty of our perception of nature to nature”
Are you then arguing that the aesthetic preferences of our mind, in terms of what we select from nature in these photos (as I have just proved), are a product of nature seeing itself in its preferred ways, through the human mind? So to say that nature thinks itself to be an artist, and uses us humans to take the right angle, focus and reflection of light? We are the public, appreciating the artist called nature?
Or, if nature is not an artist trying to enjoy itself through human eyes, but if we argue that it is functional for the human species as a product of nature to experience some things as beautiful (which is then functional for nature).
Given that through technology we can ‘see’ things we could normally not see, and we have no natural need to see them too, and, even the most horrible things for the human eye might on some microscopic level become beautiful, nay, perhaps everything on some level of focus, some selection, and play of light becomes beautiful, what is the natural purpose of that? A side product?
I take your points about glory and our bowels, John, but in the latter case the collector of the photographs refrained from testing that boundary. A lot of what you argue next seems to make sense, and then toward the end of your comment some of what you argue either I don’t understand or I think you are enjoying your ideas more than you are thinking them through. Either way, I’ve enjoyed this exchange of comments, it is late, and I am going to bed.