Posts Tagged ‘symbol’

The Nobility of Time

November 2nd, 2010

Dali. The mad genius.

Regardless whether you love or hate his works, it cannot leave you unmoved. For my part, the effortless grace and simplicity in his madness speaks to me. And I enjoy how the meaning of his works to me has changed as I have grown older and the way I view the world has evolved.

I recently had the chance to shoot a sculpture by Dali  titled “The Nobility of Time” (yep, the real thing). Here are two pictures from that shoot.

For the above shot I added a quarter CTB (color temperature blue) gel to the background flash. It gave a slightly blue tint to the back of the sculpture, as well as to the white surface upon which it rested.

The second shot was made without the CTB gel.

I lit both shots with a studio flash firing through a softbox high to camera left, and another firing through my HiLite Background (I love that thing).

The Nobility of Time was described follows (I don’t remember where I got the text from, sorry):

Dali’s melted and crowned watch is both draped against and supported by the remains of a tree – the trunk sprouts new life and its roots entwine a stone. The terminology, “the crown of a watch” is assumed to mean a mechanical device that allows us to set the hands and wind the timepiece. Time, however, according to a Dalinian watch, has no internal power or motion. Given this watch’s lack of movement, the crown is interpreted as a royal crown adorning the watch, clearly identifying time’s mastery over human beings, rather than being an object of utility. His majesty is attended by two reoccurring, mystic Dalinian symbols: a pensive angel and a nude female figure elegantly draping herself in a long piece of cloth.

As the watch melts over the tree, it transforms into a human profile, underlining the interminable relationship between human beings and time. The unexpected softness of the watch also represents the psychological aspect whereby time, whilst considered to be a precise and fixed concept, can in fact vary significantly in human perception. The flow of time and its unusually irrational nature developed into an obsession for Dali; the image and symbolism of the melted watch thus reoccurred in many of his works.

On another note:

More coming soon!

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Bangalore Portraits – Part II

December 2nd, 2009

Here are a few more portraits of the interesting people whose paths crossed mine in the short time I spent in Bangalore.

In colour, this time (well, mostly).

I met these men on a side street off Commercial Street. They were deep in conversation. I liked the symmetry of the two men on the benches, and the determined, but kind, air of the man standing by the door. I paused to say hullo, and asked if I could take their picture.

Three Men and a Door (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f4, ISO 200, 1/125sec)

If you notice, the door has a decorative Hindu form of the swastika symbol. This should not be confused with the Nazi variant. It’s use in the Asian subcontinent can represent a range of things depending on the context, the direction it facing and the religion (it’s a sacred symbol in each of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Mithraism). It is commonly associated with evolution, stability (as it faces in each of North, South, East and West), and even the movement of the sun. You can find out more here.

Below are drum sellers, father and son. I met them on a street parallel to Commercial Street. The son spent a good deal of time trying to convince me to buy a drum from him. At an outrageous price, no less. I whittled him down to less than a tenth of his initial asking price (no joke) but, I mean, what use do I have for a drum? I told him so, and offered to take his picture instead. He agreed, and I took a few portraits of him alone, and then of him with his father.

He still insisted that if I wasn’t about to buy a drum off him, then at least I should give him some money so he could feed himself and his dad. He insisted on being given money. But when we spotted a fruit seller, I was happy to offer him and his father a salad.

The Drum Sellers (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 28mm, f8, ISO 200, 1/100sec)

Here is the fruit seller as he cut up a pineapple preparing the salad for the drum sellers:

The Fruit Seller (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 35mm, f8, ISO 200, 1/200sec)

There were quite a few fruit sellers pushing carts along on the streets of Bangalore.

Rolling Along (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f8, ISO 200, 1/320sec)

When heading back towards Commercial Street on another small side street, I came across a little tailor’s shop. It had no door and was entirely open onto the street. I stopped for a quick hello and the tailors paused for a few moments in their work for a few pictures.

Here are two of the resulting portraits:

The Tailor I (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 78mm, f8, ISO 200, 1/60sec + flash SB900)

The Tailor II (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 48mm, f8, ISO 200, 1/60sec)

This woman accosted me at the top of Commercial Street as I was waiting for a few friends to join me. She tried to sell me a map of India. I convinced her to let me take a picture of her instead.

She disappeared before I could take a closer shot of her face.

The Map Seller (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f8, ISO 200, 1/250sec + flash SB900)

This man and his tuk-tuk which was overflowing with blue sacks hauled up alongside our car at a junction:

Tuk-Tuk Man (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 30mm, f3.8, ISO 200, 1/500sec)

I spotted this woman as we passed down a busy street. I loved the colours of the posters, and the odd mix of religious  and other subjects. If you notice, she’s holding a young child in her lap, partially covered in her sari.

The Poster Seller (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 90mm, f8, ISO 200, 1/60sec - slightly cropped)

More pictures coming soon!

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Posted in Portraits, Travel/Urban | Comments (2)

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