Tag Archives: photography

Distorted Reality…

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I stood outside my son’s bedroom, bundled up against the cold that was dropping a few meagre snowflakes on the morning. Camera in hand, I was snapping away happily when I caught a glimpse of my reflection in the window. The double glazing caught a pair of misaligned reflections, within which was caught yet another reflection from the infinity mirror on the far wall. You could see both the garden outside and the inside of the bedroom too; the one indistinguishable from the other to the eye that caught only the two-dimensional image on the glass.

At first glance, the eye saw what the lens sees, a single flat image. It took a few moments for the mind, filled with its knowledge and experience of the three-dimensional world, to begin to tease apart the various overlapping images and make sense of what they eye was seeing. I was conscious of the process and couldn’t help but wonder what someone from a different dimension would make of it. A two-dimensional being would be quite happy with the initial impression. Except that a two-dimensional being wouldn’t be able to distance themselves from the image in order to see it at all…they would, of necessity, be part of it, just as I am part of this image and reality.

What if there was a being that moved through more dimensions that we do? Would our three-dimensional image of the world look just as flat to it as the image on the pane of glass did to me?

Do we really live just within three dimensions though, when time has been posited as a fourth? The softly falling snowflakes were a visual representation of time as I watched them move  through space from one place to another. And as I was in those dimensions, watching them, where was the ‘I’ that was able to watch? It cannot be within those nominal four dimensions, for if it were, it would be unable to separate itself from the image in order to observe it.

After proving, to my own satisfaction at least, the necessary existence of the fifth dimension, things got more complicated. While holding a conversation about cats with the son dangling out of his window, I wondered about the fact that the observing consciousness can always observe itself in the process known as infinite regress. Even in that moment, I was aware of the layers of my own consciousness as I chatted about mundane ideas while exploring an inner vision of infinity. And I wondered about the implications of that. I wondered too whether time was simply space observing itself… and if you view space as consciousness, which is far from a new idea, that opens up some intriguing and mind-boggling lines of thought.

While all this was going on, I was looking at the reflections in and through the window. In itself, it was a perfect illustration of both the distorted perception of reality we may have and the many layers it holds. Multiple reflections came together as one image. It is only my experience of those layers of reality that allow me to distinguish between bedroom and garden, inside and outside, mirror, glass and lens. It is only that experience that lets me know what is the image and what is the object.

Continue reading at The Silent Eye

Discovering Albion: 199 steps…

scotland trip jan 15 140I’ve always had a soft spot for Whitby. Even the trip to get there from my childhood home takes you across the North York Moors and if you are lucky enough to go in summer, chances are the heather will be in full bloom from horizon to horizon. This time, however, we just had the bitter winter wind. Not that this was a bad thing at that moment… it made the climb up the 199 worn sandstone steps less of a warming experience. In summer it is hot work. Like all such things, there is the tradition that you cannot count them. I, at least, have never managed it… I get distracted.

scotland trip jan 15 134From here there are wonderful views over the little town and its harbour. Whitby still depends on the sea for most of its income, though the whaling and herring fishing has long since declined to be largely replaced with tourism and the manufacture of jet jewellery… and fossils of course. There are so many to pick up on the beaches here, released by the constant erosion of the cliffs.

scotland trip jan 15 135As we climbed up to the church and saw the disappearing cliff face over the town, I recalled that it is not only fossils that the wind and rain releases. That cliff face has eroded by a good distance since I was a child and human bones from the graveyard have been sent into the streets below by the landslips that have placed homes beneath the cliff at significant risk. If that sounds like something from a horror movie there is reason for that too… Bram Stoker set much of his book Dracula against the stark silhouette of the Abbey and church atop the cliff.

Continue reading at France & Vincent

Discovering Albion: Whitby…

scotland trip jan 15 124A bitterly cold day in mid-January is not, I have to say, the ideal time to go to the seaside. Especially not in North Yorkshire. But go we did. I have fond memories of Whitby as a child… sitting on the beach in summer, huddled in a sweater and drinking Horlicks brought on a tray from the café at the top of the slip. I brought my own children here when they were very young too, though to be fair, it was at least slightly warmer. Probably not quite as icily cold.

scotland trip jan 15 125Not that I cared. I love Whitby and it has roots in my family: I pointed out the house one of my ancestors used to live in a few centuries ago. I had been delighted when I traced the family back to a specific house still standing from seventeenth century Whitby and one of these days may see how far back that association went. My companion too has links with Whitby, though they are of a more mysterious nature and my lips are sealed… First things first though. We needed a pub. With lunch… and a fire.

scotland trip jan 15 193We found both in the Dolphin, right beside the swing bridge that allows the fishing boats out of the Esk and into the sea. Yes, another Esk… first Cumbria, then Scotland… now Yorkshire. There was something a bit coincidental about that. Of all the rivers in all the country… we get three Esks in special places.

scotland trip jan 15 190After lunch we wandered into the old town to the south of the river estuary. Even here there were few tourists. Not surprising given that the temperature had dropped even further, though we were at least sheltered from the wind. I needed a Lucky Duck. It’s traditional. They were first made half a century ago as lucky charms for actors at the theatre in the town. I was given one every time we went to Whitby. I bought them for my sons. Now I needed one for my granddaughter.

Continue reading at France & Vincent