Woodpile with Powerlines

Woodpile with Powerlines (2021)

This is more of a romantic notion than an accurate representation of a scene. To me, it’s a personal story rather than a work containing dramatic light or a moment of fascination. Everything in the image has been included and excluded deliberately to achieve the feeling I wanted it to invoke when I look at it.  For me, this image is a long stare rather than a quick scroll on the screen. I must have looked at it for a good hour, making sure I completely understood it before finishing it.

Fence Post in Marsh Land

Fence Post in Marsh Land (2021)

This is another image of a theme and idea I’ve been developing and exploring recently. It expands off last week’s images that were called Peninsula Bus Stop with Dry Grass, Scott Hall and Shearing Shed and Load Ramp. All these images are about the relationship between human’s temporary existence within nature. I’ve been looking for signs of human existence that show a temporary nature, emptiness, silence and devoid of human noise. It’s amazing how quiet the world can be when you turn off all the white noise for a while. 

Temporary Residence

Shearing Shed and Load Ramp (2020)

This is an image I took late last year. Its theme is  a common one for me in recent times with this kind of work; traces of human life in silence and emptiness. I visit locations on the Otago Peninsula often and I’m always looking how objects connect with each other and the meaning they infer. Here a shearing shed and loading ramp are covered and surrounded in mist while the damp grass extends off the page. There’s a relationship here between man’s temporary residence against nature. “Shearing Shed and Loading Ramp” (2020)

Harmony In Life

Scott Hall (2021)

This is another scene I found on Otago Peninsula. As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I wasn’t out looking for something fascinating or interesting, instead I was viewing through the central idea and theme of traces of human life, silence and emptiness. I wandered around this hall for a while before I finally came across the composition I wanted. Sometimes I find I need to look at objects in multiple ways before seeing the arrangement I want. With this hall, I liked the hints of emptiness and silence that seemed to be present, it has traces of human life but also a tiny sense of drama. It’s very much about that human quality of connectedness and harmony in life. Title: Scott Hall by John Caswell (2021)

A Way Of Life

Peninsula Bus Stop with Dry Grass (2021)

I came across this scene while I was exploring Otago Peninsula. I wasn’t out looking for something fascinating or interesting because the problem with that is so many things appear fascinating that it becomes impossible to capture everything the eye sees. Instead, my curiosity was based around a central idea and theme. Others might call it a vision. What I was looking for was traces of human life, silence and emptiness. Personally I loved the connection between the bus stop sign and the seat, the street sign and the no exit or turning sign. The relationship between these elements and the rest of the scene to me seem to suggest a way of life that is forgotten about in the city. Title: Peninsula Bus Stop with Dry Grass by John Caswell (2021)

5 Days, 4 Nights In Wellington.

Wellington City

Day 5 – I’d spent the previous night enjoying the sights and sounds of Courtney Place. Earlier in the day I had enjoyed a delicious and wonderful lunch at Mr Go’s. Having been to Mr Go’s on previous trips, and with less than 24 hours left in the city, I simply had to enjoy the Asian Fusion Restaurant before I left. My taste buds had drawn me to the mouth wateringly good Pork Belly Bao Bun and Pork Dumplings. Now, many hours later I found myself sitting in a bar called the Welsh Dragon with my stomach hungry for food. Approaching the Welsh Dragon, I had initially thought it was a deserted building in the middle of a median strip. But, it turned out to be an old historic public toilet that has been converted into possibly the most laid back and down to earth pub in the whole CBD. There were no fancy flashing lights, drums hanging from the ceiling or large neon lights that were accompanied with extremely loud music. It was a friendly, hospitable pub, no more than that. I felt at home instantly.

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5 Days, 4 Nights In Wellington.

Gollum At Weta Workshops

Day 4 – It’s interesting in Aotearoa that so much of our national history seems to start with European Explorers. For example, Able Tasman is credited with the discovery of New Zealand in 1642. The story goes that the good Mr Tasman, having sailed for nearly 140 days, and upon sighting the West Coast of the South Island, he decided he couldn’t really be bothered stopping and kept sailing. Our history books then jump to Captain Cook’s navigation of New Zealand in 1769. From there, we’re told about European encounters with Māori until the lead-up to the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840. 

Until more recent times, it appears that everyone forgot that Polynesian migration and settlement in Aotearoa occurred between 1250 – 1300. A good 350 years before Able Tasman decided he was feeling adventurous and set sail and around 450 years before Captain Cook landed in Poverty Bay. Having spent the previous day wandering around Matiu Island, I decided some further personal education of Māori settlement was in order.

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5 Days, 4 Nights In Wellington.

Matiu/Somes Island Lighthouse.

Day 3 – Matiu/Somes Island’s claim to fame is wide and varied. Lying in Wellington Harbour it’s history dates back to the early Polynesian Explorer Kupe, and since then it has been a Maori Pa site, a quarantine station, an internment camp, a military defensive position and is now a wildlife reserve and sanctuary looked after by the Department of Conservation. 

My plan for the day was to ferry across the harbour to Days Bay and an area called Eastbourne. I had purchased my ticket from a young lady who was without a doubt one of the most friendly, helpful and polite receptionist I’ve ever met. Upon my inquiry for a return ticket across the harbour she politely informed me that the next ferry was actually stopping at Matiu/Somes Island which apparently wasn’t very big ‘but definitely worth a visit’. ‘Well, why not I said’. So, after a short but enjoyable board ride I found myself standing on an island in the middle of Wellington Harbour.

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5 Days, 4 Nights In Wellington.

Midnight Espresso

Day 2 – I awoke in the morning feeling refreshed and very well rested. The previous day I’d spent 90 minutes flying and 480 minutes at Christchurch Airport so now I was more than ready for a walk and something to eat.

I ate breakfast at a very retro place called Midnight Espresso. After ordering, I sat in the window watching rain fall and Cuba Street slowly come to life, passing the time marveling at how maple syrup instantly improves bacon and banana pancakes. When finally my stomach was full, and my plate empty, I set off into the sleepy Wellington streets.

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5 Days, 4 Nights In Wellington

Day 1 continued – It all started with a noise that didn’t sound quite right. Clearly this is not something you want to be thinking having just taken off on an A320 Airbus heading to 30,000 feet. The next thing that happen was the captain and cabin crew informed us that there was a problem with the landing gear and our flight to Wellington would be making an unscheduled stop in Christchurch. As I sat there watching the coast and listening to a plane that seemed to be rattling more than a car I once owned, two thoughts crossed my mind. Firstly, it was moments like this that you wish Harrison Ford or Bruce Willis are on the plane. Secondly, having watched Mayday, I was confident I knew what to do.

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