Brian Micklethwait's Blog
In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.Home
Tom on LON DON
Kim Bergstrom on Looking in at the Zaha Hadid Design Gallery in Goswell Road
6000 on Another walk along the river
Darren on Another walk along the river
Brian Micklethwait on What sort of duck is this?
Brian Micklethwait on What sort of duck is this?
Brian Micklethwait on Another walk along the river
Alastair on Another walk along the river
Darren on What sort of duck is this?
Architectural Visualization on Benjamin Franklin maps the Gulf Stream
Most recent entries
- New Tricks is popular because it is full of old people and it is mostly old people who watch telly
- White vans are becoming very informative
- My latest meeting went fine
- Pizza Express bus
- The difference between roof clutter and roof clutter
- Another photo for the traffic lights countdown set
- Centre Point through the new station entrance
- My next last Friday meeting: Patrick Crozier on the political consequences of WW1
- Keeping up appearances next to Centre Point
- A model of London now opening to the public
- Looking in at the Zaha Hadid Design Gallery in Goswell Road
- Van Art
- LON DON
- John Cage does Sudoku
- Happy couples
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Category archive: Sculpture
I like trees without leaves for many reasons. One is that you can put them in front of Big Things and still see the Big Things.
And another is that without leaves in the way, I get to enjoy the peculiar sculptural effects contrived in and on trees by the pruning process.
Consider this photo, which I took this February, looking across Vincent Square towards Parliament and the river:
Ignore the wheel with the bobbles on it. Forget the pointy tower on the left. Consider those trees, and the strange shapes of their branches, caused by pruning.
A particular effect that such pruning causes is when a quite thick branch is lopped off, and the result is like a fist, holding lots more much thinner branches.
Here is another photo, taken down by the river in 2010, which shows that effect:
Again, forget about the spiky footbridge in the middle of the picture and that crane behind it, which is obviously what I thought I was photoing at the time, with the trees as a mere frame. Look at the trees, with their big thick branches, that suddenly stop (because of pruning) and then burst out in all directions with lots of much smaller branches.
The photo I’ve been able to track down in my archives that best illustrates this effect is of some trees at the junction between Rochester Row and Vauxhall Bridge Road:
I seem to recall that Rochester Row has lots of trees thus truncated, which I also seem to recall photoing, several times. But I was unable to find any such photos.
What this particular snap shows very well is how the tree, once pruned, sometimes sort of blows the end of itself up into a balloon, before the new branches finally manage to burst out, hence the fist effect. I’m thinking especially of what happened on the right in the above picture.
The reason I went rootling through my archives for snaps of this sort was that when walking along beside the somewhat distant-from-London reaches of the New River, in the vicinity of Enfield, with GodDaughter One last Saturday, we encountered the most extreme example I have ever seen of a tree that has been pruned into a different shape to the one it would naturally have adopted.
Feast your eyes on this:
Is that not one of the weirdest things you have ever seen? It looks more like something for swimming in the sea than like a tree.
This snap was snapped at one of the entrances to Enfield Town Park, or Town Park as they call it in Enfield. You can see the New River in the background. Had we succeeded in sticking closer to the New River at that particular point in our wanderings, we would have missed this.
What was the pruner thinking, I wonder? Did he think that he had ended this tree’s growth? If so, shouldn’t he or someone have painted over the top, to stop it growing some more? Or, was he actually going for this effect? Was this some kind of experiment? Who can say? Whatever the explanation, I’m glad that this was done and that I got to photo, and to bring it to the attention of the world, this remarkable effect.
Indeed. While searching through the archives for this picture, I came upon this one:
I’d just seen a Superman v Batman poster in the tube, so this 3D Batmovie advert jumped out at me, metaphorically speaking. The photo was taken in May 2008, so anyone who cares can work out which Batmovie that would be.
I like the highly appropriate architectural background. That being, I think (supercommenter Alastair may want to correct me), County Hall.
Here’s a Superheroine, photoed moments later:
I’m guessing that’s Lara Croft.
Later I took this snap, of the appendages of a slightly less superheroic figure:
The South Bank of the River Thames abounds with people dressed up in strange costumes, soliciting money. I say not so superheroic, but these figures do at least remain superheroically immobile.
Now that the weather has at last changed from wintry to springy, I am about to go out to take more snaps, and I wanted my blogging duties here done before all that. And now they are.
Last Thursday, I said I would be checking out the Big Olympic Thing, and I did. The expedition was very satisfactory. I got there. I purchased, from a human, a one-year season ticket for a tenner. I ascended to the top. I took photos. I came home again. And I shall return to the B(ig) O(lympic) T(hing) and take better photos, from it if not of it, or at any rate different photos (see below).
First sighting of the BOT, as I emerged from the Westfield Shopping Centre:
Scaffolding, good. Trees mostly without leaves, good.
I still wasn’t sure how to get there exactly, but I was, as the sportsmen say, in the right areas. I asked around, and found my way, and while on my way photoed this part of a bigger map, concentrating on the area I was in at the time:
My destination is described on this map as “Arcelormittal Orbit”. It’ll never catch on.
Photoing maps when on photo-expeditions is very good, especially if the map says “you are here”, somewhere in it, which alas this one does not. Even so, this map shows where I went pretty well.
I started at the DLR station, in the clump of transport signs to the far right. I went through the pale blue expanse that is the Westfield shopping centre, along “The Street”, and then along “Stratford Walk”. Then I emerged into the open and negotiated my way past the “International Quarter”, following that big red arrow that points towards the stadium, and by then it was pretty clear.
Neither the area around the BOT nor the BOT itself is finished. There is a notable lack of any enterprise selling food or drink, and the whole place now has the air of a holding operation.
Here, for instance, was the seething mass of humanity with whom I competed for space on the lift to the top of the BOT:
Next, I’m looking out through the top of the BOT to the Big Things of the middle of London, which as you can see are actually quite a way away. Below is the Olympic Stadium:
I took closer-up shots, of course, of which this is my favourite:
The reason this shot is my favourite is that it aligns two Things you don’t often see aligned, namely the towers of Tower Bridge and, right behind them, the three-eyed Thing that is the Strata. At the time I thought I was photoing only the Strata. It turns out I was photoing an Alignment of the sort I so much like, but by mistake. I love it when that happens.
6k, in a comment on my earlier BOT posting, asked about The Slide. He’s talking about this, which is a graphic I saw at tht top of the BOT just as I was leaving. I left in rather a hurry because the BOT was closing, hence the rather sloppy nature of this snap:
But, as I often like to say about my pictures, you get the picture. That is what The Slide is going to look like. More about that in the Dezeen posting about the BOT Slide that 6k kindly linked to.
6k asked if The Slide is finished yet. Answer: It has hardly started. Not started at all in any way you’d notice. See the next picture but one below.
Meanwhile here is another graphic that I photoed, at the bottom of the BOT, on the outside:
What we see there is how the view from the top of the BOT looks when the sun is off to the side rather than straight ahead, as the sun was in all of my photos of those Big Things. And when a Real Photographer is on the job.
Memo-to-self: Some time quite soon, I shall be consulting the weather forecast and making a trip out to the BOT again, in the morning.
Second-to-last shot, showing the total absence so far of any Slide action, and the Olympic Stadium, soon to be occupied by West Ham United:
Note once again the insane competition from massed humans for the facilities on offer. Not.
I will end with a shot of the BOT and a crane, snapped from just outside Pudding Mill Lane DLR, which is one of my favourite DLR stops if only because of its name. This makes the point yet again that this whole area is very much work in progress rather than finished. The Slide is yet to come, as is a lot of other stuff:
See the very bottom of the map snap above for the location of Pudding Mill Lane. As you can see from that snap, even despite its truncatedness, there is a lot of Olympicness for me to explore that I did not explore on this particular expedition. Like I say, I shall return.
Getting properly out and about again after my winter hibernation, as I did earlier this week to Victoria Park (it’s easier to scroll down past yesterday’s Gulf Stream posting than to follow those links), reminded me that there are other major viewing spots in London I have yet to check out.
Such as, for instance, this Big Thing:
Yes it’s Anish Kapoor’s Big Olympic Thing. Now that all the Olympic fuss has died down, and most of the people who fancied visiting this Thing have visited it, and they’ve finally finished making it as good a Thing as they can, getting into this Thing and up this Thing and to the top of this Thing may finally be a buyer’s market, rather than a hell of queueing and crowding and barging. I tried the website, to see if I could buy a ticket remotely. But as so often with me, I couldn’t make it work. So, I will go there this afternoon, and see if I can buy some kind of ticket, from a person. If that doesn’t work, then I think I recall seeing a phone number I could ring. I also seem to recall the webiste mentioning an Old Git season ticket for an entire year that costs hardly more than a single visit. That would be great. I do love to go back to places, after I have looked at the first lot of photos and worked out what I was actually photoing.
Whether they will sell me a ticket face-to-face or not, I will still get to check out the fascist expanses of the Olympic Park, or whatever it is they call the big pointless spaces outside the Olympic Stadium.
Part of the top of which is visible in the above photo, which I took from the footbridge at Hackney Wick Overground Station, on my recent trip.
Late this afternoon, looking up Victoria Street. Taken, I rather think, from the middle of the road, to get the cloud behind her in the right spot.
If I die trying to take a photo, so be it.
Also, on her right, some of the new buildings at the top end of Victoria Street.
It’s already deep into tomorrow morning, after my meeting. It went well, but (or and) I am now very tired.
For the purposes of this posting, bike fishing means fishing for bikes. Not: fishing while on a bike.
Favourite line in the report:
Bike fishing has become one of Amsterdam’s unique tourist attraction.
My immediate reaction was: So, anyone can do it? Do you need a license? But what they really mean, presumably, is just standing there and watching while somebody else does the bike fishing.
A bike fishing competition might be really something. And it still might be if it was fishing while on a bike.
Other recent favourite Amusing Planet posting: The Lady of the North.
I spent a lot of today doing an elaborate Samizdata posting with twelve photos in it, and now I am doing the same here. Most of these ones are just of the I Just Like It sort.
Whether I have the time and energy left after posting the photos to say something about them remains to be seen. Anyway, here they are, one for each month, in chronological order:
Okay, let’s see if I can rattle through what they are, insofar as it isn’t obvious.
1.1 was taken outside Quimper (which is in Brittany) Cathedral, where they were selling that sugary stuff on a stick called I can’t remember what. I stalked the guy for ever, until he finally obliged by sticking his sugary stuff on a stick in front of his face. Never clocked me, I swear. Although, when others stalk me when I’m photoing, I never notice them.
1.2 is the amazing coffee making equipment owned by the friend also featured in these earlier pictures.
1.3 is the men’s toilet in the Lord Palmerston pub, near Suicide Bridge, photoed soon after I took those.
2.1 explains itself. 2.2 is Anna Pavlova, reflected in the House of Fraser building in Victoria. 2.3 was taken on the Millenium Footbridge.
3.1 is 240 Blackfriars. What I like about it is that in some photos, such as this one, it looks like a 2D collage stuck onto the sky, instead of a 3D building in front of the sky.
3.2 is the new entrance to Tottenham Court Road tube/crossrail station, outside Centre Point, seen from further up Tottenham Court Road.
3.3 is the Big Olympic Thing, seen from Canning Town railway and tube station. A tiny bit of it, anyway. To me, unmistakable. To you, maybe an explanation needed.
4.1 shows me photoing shop trivia, in this case a spread of magazines dominated by the scarily intense face of one of British TV’s great Tragedy Queens, the actress Nicola Walker. I first clocked her when she was in Spooks. Now she’s in everything.
4.2 and 4.3 are both film crew snaps. 4.2 features a London Underground Big Cheese, who is a bit put out to find himself being photoed by the wrong person instead of by his own tame film crew. He was drawing a lot of attention to himself, so I reckon him fair blogging game. 4.3 is another film crew, in Victoria Street, just loving the attention, who will be ecstatic when they hear about how they have hit the big time. I like how there’s a movie advert on a bus right behind them.
There, that wasn’t so bad. Although there are probably several mistakes that I am, as of the smallest hours of 2016, too tired to be fixing.
Happy New Year to all who get to read this.
Quota sculpture made of plastic milk bottles on the South Bank in 2012
Stick objects and my brother through a stick object
Some reindeer-based Christmas cheer from last year
Modernist sand castles at Amusing Planet (and at Mick Hartley’s)
The laboriousness-to-effect ratio at Colossal
Wheel and shadow (and Wheel reflected)
Anonymous guys taking (and making) pictures in Trafalgar Square
Coloured lights in bottles outside the RFH
Going to Kings Cross to see gas holders
The sexiest statue in London?
Jim Glymph gets Frank Gehry past the limits of what is buildable
Another The Wires! Building in Japan (plus more Dezeenery)
Man on horseback – and cranes
On packaging – and on the need to chuck it out
Big Ben through the legs of Gandhi statue in Parliament Square
Digital photography ballet
Two photographers photoing me
Lining things up behind the Royal Festival Hall
Pavlova reflected in double glazing
Two strangers photoed by Mick Hartley and shown there (and here) without their permission
Two more Pavlova pictures
Ballerina and crane
Why I mostly write about architectural design rather than about interior design
A Shiny Thing and a friend also photoing it - with an iPhone
More Big Olympic Thing photos
A Shiny Thing by Frank Stella Hon RA
Giant cat head worn by a human
CATable at the Building Centre
The receiving station at Swains Lane (and the previous version of it)
From a cat cushion to Bill Murray and a nude to a demon horse sculpture that killed its creator
Bean drops snow on tourist
Pavlova with a new building and a passing bus
The rise of (interest in) 3D printing
Is 2007 old enough?
Anish Kapoor photoed next to his big shiny balls
BMdotcom (mathematical (and sporting)) quote of the day
Hand done photos
Cats in Quimper shops
Hirst’s Hymn outside the Tate Gallery
To Covent Garden (3): Cat that looks a bit like a dog
Christmas tree with scaffolding
To Tower Bridge: Shadow selfie – Peace memorial – Big Things old and new
Phone (and cash) box
The Poppies (4): Bald Blokes photoing them
Quota photo from Paris (also a selfie)
The Poppies (3): People taking selfies
The Poppies (2): The crowds
The Poppies (1): What they look like
The illustrations for Christian Michel’s talk this Friday (plus some thoughts from me)
Big cat advertises guide dogs
Photographers in Tate Ancient
The ballerina and her support act
Ballerina with cranes again - this time with added spy cameras
Quota ballerina with cranes photo
Out and about in the sunshine
Back from France (plus cat photos)
Sacred architecture and profane roof clutter - a speculation
What is this Thing?
A Bobcat digger and the Coade Lion from the back
3D printed structural joints and another Gormley man
The Dragon Bridge of Da Nang
Pavlova with cranes
Big Blue Cock photos
Noah – Cosi at the Imax – Big Blue Cock
James II dressed as a Roman
VC DSO DSO DSO DSO
Lego bridge in Germany
Finally working out what I liked about those Gormley Men
Art has its uses – but where did it have its uses this time – and what is it?
Photographers in the spring
3D printed baby in the womb
Don’t judge a new technology by its first stumbling steps
A quota post (with a quota link to a post about a post about a quota photo) and another quota photo
Faberge - Brutalism
Temporary art made of brightly dressed people
6k quota photo of sea
Sandcastles that will live for ever
Ice sculptures in Docklands – Big Things from Docklands
3D printer sighted!
Dog wearing funny spectacles plus electrical clutter
Ballerina with crane
Sculpture at St James’s Tube
The Kelpies of Falkirk
Michael Jennings photos the bridges of Porto
Crows nest made of coat hangers
Owl at Canning Town railway station
Photoing each other - and photoing stuff in the canal
A day in and around Olympicland with Goddaughter One
Quota photo of a bucket of plastic crocodiles in an otherwise deserted shop window in Oxford Street
Stairs Thing outside St Paul’s
Wedding photography (3): Technology as sculpture
A mannequin in Tachbrook Street sheds light on the nature of perception
Art without Artists
Cheap hippos are hard to find
Skull made of skulls in gift shop street
New crane up
Little Lady Liberty - still in France
Bomber Command Memorial pictures
Latest C4 logo sculpture
76 operas and a monument in the wrong place for Hermann the German
Quota hedgehog sculpture
Another Assembly of Men
Gormley’s South Bank Men
Blue Men on a boring building in Borough High Street
Giant bull held up by scaffolding
Tiny Cardboard Box People Appear All Over Singapore
A picture I want to remember
Cats with human faces
As strong and sweet as the free market itself
One man’s intellectual theft is another man’s marketing
Everybody draw Mohammed every day!
London is about to be Kapoored with a big new Olympic Games Thing
We’ll always have Chelsea
Eros under an umbrella
Giant Bean covered in mirror
The Min-Kyu Choi folding three point plug
As found roof sculpture
Johanna Kaschke versus the Deluded Leftwinger
The Labour Party finally agrees on a new Prime Minister to replace Gordon Brown
Cat blogging and Gormley blogging
What The State looks like
The Wheel through some Art
The towers of London from the Copper Horse
Another strange Staines statue
Roll out the Lino
Not Billion Monkeys!
An abstract view of Kings Place
More sticking up stuff
Big head and big something else
Resizing Slim with Expression Engine
Pictures with words
A sculptural suggestion
Classic car thinness
The return of Friday cat-blogging
Twickenham shop attacked by the Dark Side of The Force
Exciting posting about shelves
Celebrating a victory
Not a hot day in January for the Billion Monkeys!
Billion Monkey scrunched up in a ball!
Reflections in a Belgravia shop window
Three proper photos … and three Billion Monkeys!!!
Spherical trouser sculpture
More St Pancras snaps
Manhole cover cats and Angel of the North shelves?
Yes this is cat blogging
American war memorial by the sea at St Nazaire
Berlin Billion Monkeys photo rat and cheese sand sculpture!
A squinting cat and a master ephemerist
Further pictorial shallowness
Rokeby Billion Monkey!
More Magic Andy sand sculpture
Magic Andy makes magic dragon
The Mainstream Media finally get around to noticing Andy and his sand sculptures
Random London snaps from last year
No more photos for a bit after these ones
Alice in Fortnum and Mason
Everyone likes Magic Andy
Should blogs - this one in particular - specialise?
Bartók outside South Kensington tube
The Ben Pimlott lump
And then I went home happy