Friday, 12 September 2014

Façades in a frame: The quaint provincial

I discovered a cozy little spot at the far corner of the yard. Quite rustic looking, with overgrown grass, piles of wooden planks that have now begone to succumb to exposure and the insects that have made it both home and food. There are also a few extra large tires and other mechanical rejects that look like they may have once belonged to a Caterpillar tractor of some sort. Presently, it is all covered in moss and mold. At first glance it looks rather drab, then hazardous, becoming even more so once my mind suggests the setting looks like many good hiding places for snakes. A cautionary mechanism, nurtured from growing up in a tropical country, which never actually prevents me from exploring. 

Right above it all, sprouting majestically despite the persistent moss, is a mature pink pomelo tree, with fruit as large as Chinese lanterns, hanging up and down it's lower branches. It is such a pretty sight that it diminishes all the chaos underneath. I walked around a bit, looking for the perfect frame, and finally found it while crouching behind a pile of tires. Took some test shots in both colour and b&w. Found an old rusted paint barrel, turned it on it's side and used it as a tripod to take some self portraits. Eliminating the whole mishmash of colour patterns, the eye sees shapes created by only light and shadows. I like how the brain forms emotions from this simplistic perception. 

Eventually got some help from my ever so patient cousin Dare, who has a similar enthusiasm in photography. Can you tell which photographs where taken by him? I named this series of photographs "The quaint provincial" because they bring to mind an adjective that was attributed to me many years ago by someone who taught me the importance of putting myself first, or risk being taken for granted most of the time. If you look up the meaning of both the noun and adjective forms of "provincial", you roughly get: 

"- one living in or coming from a province, 
  - a person of local or restricted interests or outlook
  - a person lacking urban polish or refinement

  - marked by simplicity, informality, and relative plainness" (Merriam-Webster online dictionary)

There is enough under the word's synonyms (and I know enough about this person anyway) that lets me understand that it was not meant as a compliment. I was not being flattered in the same way the words "low maintenance" would sound to a person concerned with frugality. I was being called out for not having the right combination of urban sophistication, ambition, pretense and aesthetic appreciation. I was called out by one who valued his position as some sort of "gatekeeper" to the "in" crowd, for being plain'ol non-conformist me! I was being abused and I knew it. Being happy in my own skin and not giving two sniffs for judgement means that being perceived as provincial doesn't bother me. In fact, I now seek and appreciate a more rural aesthetic; natural, wild and freeing as it may seem, yet peaceful, charming and serene. A positive spin on "provincial", I'm hoping, I've captured in these pictures.


Olive caftan top with gold embroidery (DIY adjustment from a previous item)
Dark wash denim shorts (DIY adjustment from  a once favourite pair of old jeans)

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