Criss Cross

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Spectacular curving, criss-crossed ceiling at London’s King’s Cross Railway Station.

So elegant with its purplish backlighting, and just vast as a piece of design

Even I hadn’t been hanging around for the train north to Edinburgh, this would have dragged me in to admire it.

Lines crossing over and over again, like the passengers scurrying to their trains, heading to different destinations.

Indeed, the kinetic and life energy in the place is amazing – all those journeys, with their beginnings and endings ; those unknown (to each other) plans and dreams – in the one place at the same time, intersecting for the briefest moment and then arching out and beyond, perhaps never to cross over again.

And when you board the train, it’s a little simpler – you’re away again on your own trajectory and at least the tracks run parallel !

 

Safe Harbour By Failing Light

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I took a photo at dusk from the harbour wall at Pittenweem on my recent visit to the Scottish village.

The weather outside the harbour was getting rough, with the wind and the sea up, and the rain beginning to fall again.

But looking back to the town, things appeared calmer.

The saying “safe harbour” sprang to mind.

I could see the light of the place we were staying (at centre top) and headed back to its comfort.

(In the failing light the photo was a technical failure so I salvaged it (like a sunken ship!) and made this abstract picture, that captures for me the moment).

God In Segments

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The view up to a stunning vaulted ceiling in England’s York Minster.

Justifiably lauded for its architecture, it was the complex symmetry of it all that left me dazzled.

Like this segmented design ,radiating out from the centre of the ceiling like a star, or a flower, then falling down smoothly to enfold the equally beautiful arched windows.

I am a bit of a sucker for symmetry, as some pictures elsewhere on this blog will attest.

As a religious house it is well nigh perfect.

But, there was the nagging thought in my mind that it was a grand, and failed, attempt – it was made by imperfect humans after all ! – to capture a universal spirituality that is at times:

unpredictable,

jagged,

asymmetrical,

not compartmentalised,

indefinable…

 

 

 

Holy Family Fragment

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La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona

A personal favourite of the photos I took on my recent visit to the cathedral (and I took a shitload, if I can use profanity in proximity to the sacred).

Just one view of a small portion of the Gaudi structure.

So many many fragments to the seamless whole it is mindboggling – true visionary stuff.

(Holy Family is an English translation of  Sagrada Familia).

 

Gravestones And Battlements

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It was a dismal weekday afternoon as we trekked towards Calton Hill in Edinburgh.

Then, joy of joys, just before  our destination I saw some stone stairs leading up to a small cemetery.

Like a rat up a drainpipe, I quickly found my way to this vista, with looming castle battlements to ice the proverbial cake.

Victorian gothic nirvana!

I would have lingered, but my wife and daughter were less than impressed with another funereal photographic detour.

I rejoined them, and when we reached the top of the Hill, the drizzle became hard rain, forming waterfalls down the steps.

So wet, so grey…and I was so happy with it all.

Sometimes I wonder what the f**k is wrong with me.

 

Victoria Blushed

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An optimistic view of London’s Victoria Station on arrival by train  – looking up at the glassed roof stretching forever (or so it seems).

Well, an optimist always looks up – always.

And sees the view through rose-tinted glasses.

In a way this picture captures the hopefulness that travel brings to me – the pursuit of the new and the dream of the possible.

 

Monumental

Sixty one metres of Victorian Gothic goodness towers above Edinburgh’s Princes Street, in tribute to literary great Sir Walter Scott.

The monument is grimy and blackened with weather and age and is all the more striking for it.

The below view, in darkened silhouette, emphasises the spectral in the structure.

Scott was a man of letters – novelist, playwright, historian. I, on the other hand, am somewhat of a philistine  – his monument appears to me as if Dracula had a hand in designing Thunderbird 3(the coolest Thunderbirds rocket)!

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Scott Monument, Edinburgh

Ain’t No Saint

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Portrait of a blogger – me, Andy L.

Almost a year into this blogging gig, and since I am always behind the lens for the pictures you see here, thought it time to move around the front and say hello.

This shot was taken last month on the harbour in the lovely Fife town of St. Andrews, with its famous ancient castle and abbey ruins, some of which can be seen in the background.

As the place is named for the patron saint of Scotland, my namesake, it seemed appropriate.

Not that I am any sort of saint, mind .This picture has a dark haloed effect, just in case   you get the wrong idea….

 

 

Seahorse In The Sky

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Have you passed by a place a thousand times and never noticed something, and then suddenly you do?

I had one  of those  moments during the  week ,when I had a few minutes up my sleeve  and stopped on the way to my work shift up at the marae.

Okaku Bay is a lovely flat beach on the Waitemata Harbour in Auckland and the seahorse statue atop a column adorns the art deco changing sheds there. How I had never spotted it before I don’t know.

In my recent travel overseas I filled my photographic  boots with all sorts of animalistic symbols – lion, wolves, and unicorns, to name a few, so perhaps had become attuned to seeing such things. Travel in new places causes us to look at home with fresh eyes, too.

It’s all about the magic in the mundane, where ordinary buildings and spaces come alive with images of fantastic creatures. The seahorse discovery transformed my routine day!

 

 

Floating Madonna

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A statue of Mary appears  to float within an arch on a church wall in Barcelona.

There is of course a small ledge on which the icon sits,but it is a neat trick of religion to create images and symbols to inspire, and to aspire to.

Apart from the prayerful pose and purity of her robes,the Madonna levitates above the ground, but is well below heaven.

Someone to look up to, or just another struggling seeker?

Faces On The Fountain

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One wild drinking fountain in Barcelona beckons, when time comes to slake your thirst.

Three human faces, appearing as if in a masquerade, frame the fountain’s taps .

Above them a supine lion crouches beneath an armoured crest -paws, claws and all.

The whole shebang elevates a utilitarian water dispensary into an artful world.

Sustenance for the imagination as well as the body.

And that lion sure looks like he could do with a drink…

 

 

La Rambla

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Crowds throng La Rambla on an autumn afternoon.

Barcelona’s iconic street, and the district named for it, teems with locals enjoying the sunshine.

So, when in this part of Barcelona one does as the locals do in this place: Lick a gelato(check!); chomp on tapas (check!); buy a football scarf to wear (check!); slurp a beer(nah,don’t drink!) and sit on a bench and people watch (check! check! check! – and in my case take photos like these).

Just very cool!

Sheen

 

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Back home from my travels to the UK and Spain,and back to the estuary in Auckland, the Tamaki, that provides much tidal inspiration to me.

As I have never lived more than a few minutes from it, to sit by the river the day after my return,with its sunstruck sheen, is to know that I am home.

And, if it lacks the renown or glamour of some of the places I saw in Europe, home is always shiny special.

 

Gaudi Curves

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I have posted elsewhere on this blog on my attraction to curving, non-linear forms.

They are truly like life,which as we all can attest, does not run in straight lines.

Antoni Gaudi’s architecture in Barcelona has taken that principle to extremes.

Observing that straight lines are only rarely found in nature, and from his belief that true art must stem from nature, he created many stunning and idiosyncratic designs in this town.

Pictured is the facade of the famous  Casa Batllo in the central city.

Jawdropping really!

The appeal to me,and the hordes of visitors to Gaudi’s creations, is that of nature’s truth.

What at first appears as fantasist madness is actually something that speaks to us deeply.

As an aside, Barcelona, apart from the old Rambla area in the centre  has a grid street network and I have managed to lose direction several times in its maze of straight line roads!