The quality of this photograph is not in line with the usual standards that we look up to, but I wanted to record this beautiful moment that I experienced at night. The room that we sleep in has these glass panes on one side of the wall. It allows us to gaze at the sky when we lie down and the usual pastimes include wondering at the cloud patterns forming or to count the number of flights passing through. (We live somewhat near to the airport). One night, the moon was full and it was flourishing on the clouds and Netta woke me up to show this. Although the photograph couldn’t even capture one-hundredth of the magnificence of this frame, I vibrantly remember the view.
..“It is a beautiful and delightful sight to behold the body of the Moon.”
― Galileo Galilei,
The Starry Messenger, Venice 1610: “From Doubt to Astonishment”
This photograph would easily be one of my recent favorites in terms of framing. I was staying on a traffic lane and the car just stopped at this beautiful frame at the centre, as if this moment of click was to converge and fall in place like a click of a button or a tight latch. Although the overly done post-processing is off the roof, I just wanted it to be illuminated this way.
“To photograph is to hold one’s breath when all faculties converge to capture fleeting reality. It’s at that precise moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy.”
― Henri Cartier-Bresson, The Mind’s Eye: Writings on Photography and Photographers
Decor and lights are something that always steers me to explore my old archives.
“I’m more preoccupied with furnishing my head than the place where I live. The most beautiful rooms I have entered have been empty ones.”
― Yann Martel, The Facts Behind the Helsinki Roccamatios
All of us who have traveled through the wider Middle East in all probability would have stumbled across one of these beautiful lights. These are Turkish mosaic lamps. Turkish lamps have a long history, the technique of producing these lamps started 5,000 years ago in its earlier forms. They had their early debut during the Ottoman era. Until the 19th century, candles and oil lamps were predominantly used for illuminating palaces and mansions. Before the spread of electric lamps, these lights were important symbols of rich heritage and civilization. Oil lamps were produced in the form of glass bottles or cup-shaped jars suspended from a chain. Bathhouses, mosques, and arenas of Istanbul were lit with these oil lamps. Over time, colored glass panes were used artistically with these lamps and they turned out to be even more beautiful. These are usually handmade and are an important element of Turkish and Anatolian roots and culture. We’d find variants of these types in other cultures as well. It’s an art and a skill to prepare hand blown glass which is cut from large sheets of different sizes and colors. A transparent, permanent but slow drying adhesive is applied to a small section of the base with a noticeable pattern through the adhesive to direct the artisan’s hand and there are several other steps to completion. Each one carefully crafted is a piece of art and expertise. I picked one from a journey to Istanbul in 2014.
If you remember, we started the ponder series by a small post about perceptions. Today, we’re thinking about something very subtle that we don’t think about much – shadows. For our new readers who aren’t familiar with this series, Ponder Series is an initiative from The Border of a Mind Studios in exploring and pondering on those miraculous themes all around us to which we shut our eyes and thoughts to in the daily life gallops.
A shadow is technically a region of darkness that forms on a surface when an object is between a light source and the surface. The shape of the shadow resembles the periphery and outline of the object casting the shadow. For example, when we shine a torch on a wooden box sitting near a wall, the wooden box outline would be the shadow cast on the wall. Although this looks pretty straightforward, the size of the shadow is depended on several factors. The primary thing is the distance of the object from the light source. When the object is closer to the light source, it casts a larger shadow. When the object is closer to the light source, the shadow is of a smaller size. Also, inclinations also have an influence on the outer periphery of an object cast as a shadow. When we see something in front of us, what we’re seeing a visual representation of it at the visual center at the back of our brains. We’re not seeing the “original” of what is in front of us, but a copy at the back of the brains. Imagine a view of a busy street with people walking and cars on the way. This “image” is seen at the back of our brains. Brain researchers working on the subject have found out that if a person resting in a lab is fed with these “signals” of a street, they’d feel that they’re in the street when actually they’re not. The image in the visual centre at the back of our brains is so perfectly rendered in all its 3-dimensional feel and layering such that we mistake it for the original without thinking that it’s only a copy that exists in our minds. Among the several factors that make this so convincing like distance, light, depth and colors, one important aspect in making this visual experience so real is shadows and shades. Artists, painters, and craftsmen use shadows as a tool to give a sense of depth and realism to a work of art by traversing avenues of shades and perspectives. If we look at the world around us, the shadows are intertwined so miraculously around us forming the visual experience we savour and we don’t even notice it as it’s so entwined in our vision. I truly believe that’s the masterful craftsmanship of the Almighty.
“Feeling at peace, however fragilely, made it easy to slip into the visionary end of the dark-sight. The rose shadows said that they loved the sun, but that they also loved the dark, where their roots grew through the lightless mystery of the earth. The roses said: You do not have to choose. ”
A sunset drenched view of an elegant Dubai skyline captured sometime before 2014. Sunlight is painting.
“ Pilgrims from all over the world were making their way to the place deemed the pearl of the Middle East. The city was reminiscent of a modern-day Persepolis. Its buildings, like towering pillars, tested the sky’s limit. The evenly paved roads belched with the smell of new tarmac, as if a million masons woke up every morning and by hand lay asphalt one grain at a time. People of all colors, ethnicities, creed and social statuses came bearing money, knowledge or experience in order to build their legacies in the new kingdom, sprouting out of the desert. Dubai had arrived. ”
From a winter sky in the UAE with scattered clouds sprouting gradually after an enchanting daybreak. Thin rays of orange creep up around the office premises and that leaves me in awe of this enrapturing spectacle on the horizon.
“ We’re not moments, Megan, you and me. We’re events. You say you might not be the same person you were a year ago? Well, who is? I’m sure not. We change, like swirling clouds around a rising sun.”
Roman Payne famously told that sunrise is the most precious gold to be found on earth. It’s a luxury that every one of us can peek at regardless of where we are or who we are. Sunrise lighting is a miraculous golden lamp that can be used to paint anything to ecstasy. If we place mountains also in this frame, what you get is pure visual bliss. We had this short stop on the way to Wadi Al Helo from the Sharjah mainland in the UAE. Travelling and riding just before sunrise through the mountain footways would uncloak some of the best visual memories and awesomeness you’ve ever had.
“Life. This morning the sun made me adore it. It had, behind the dripping pine trees, the oriental brightness, orange and crimson, of a living being, a rose and an apple, in the physical and ideal fusion of a true and daily paradise.”
― Juan Ramón Jiménez, Time and Space: A Poetic Autobiography
“HEARTWORK ” Each day is born with a sunrise and ends in a sunset, the same way we open our eyes to see the light, and close them to hear the dark. You have no control over how your story begins or ends. But by now, you should know that all things have an ending. Every spark returns to darkness. Every sound returns to silence. And every flower returns to sleep with the earth. The journey of the sun and the moon is predictable. But yours, is your ultimate ART.”
― Suzy Kassem
“With a bound, the sun of a molten fiery red cam above the horizon, and immediately thousands of little birds sang out for joy, and a soft chorus of mysterious, glad murmurs came forth from the earth; the low whispering wind left its hiding-place among the clefts and hollows of the hills, and wandered among the rustling herbs and trees, waking the flower-buds to the life of another day.”
― Elizabeth Gaskell, Ruth