Friday, March 09, 2007

Randomness and hidden stories

There are a few people in my life who love photography, and have unique angles and visions to share. My boyfriend is a truly talented photographer, and many a time, I just gasp at the eerie beauty of his pictures. Photography is a strange medium, in that it frames experience in a way that often makes us see familiar objects, people, and scenes as though we’re looking at them for the very first time. There are so many hidden stories within each shot, each texture, and as the extraneous is cut out, there is often a purity of spirit that comes through. This evening, I went around my house and snapped random shots of the minuscule. Here they are, accompanied by the hidden stories of each shot.

I wanted to capture the interesting textures that make up my home. Immediately, I knew where to start. This is a placemat given to me by a friend four years ago. She had brought it back from Bangkok, and to me, the browns, oranges, and gold capture the richness of that culture. They evoke the smell and taste of exotic spices – saffron, cinnamon, paprika. The two placemats have a place of honour on top of the dresser in my bedroom. My cat loves to hop onto the dresser on her way up to the windowsill, hence the cat-hair. I was going to re-capture the shot without the animal fur, but it provides part of the hidden story.

Next is the doorstop behind my bedroom door. It’s supposed to prevent the doorknob from banging into and damaging the wall. In truth, it does nothing because it is positioned four inches below where the doorknob is. And, it’s like that with all the doorstops throughout the house. I imagine the person who installed it took the measurement wrong and went around putting in all the doorstops before checking them. Then, with the air of defeat and resignation, he just left them, thinking that useless doorstops would be better than holes in the walls. Another explanation might be that all of the doors were replaced at one point, and the knobs failed to match the pre-existing stops. But, I like to think of the bumbling handyman better.

Moving from doorstops to bottle-stops. Here’s a bottle stopper I bought last year in Edmonton. It was intended as a gift for someone else, but, I had kept it for myself. I have a pattern of buying things for people and then keeping them for myself – it’s terrible. I’m fascinated by blown glass. This semi-obsession was initially fueled by Oscar and Lucinda, one of my favourite books. I love the tiny bubbles inside the bottle stopper. They are like the bubbles in a celebratory flute of champagne, and, under certain light, they appear frosty and crystalline, like the gems of snow crystals under the moonlight.

This is my cat atop a refinished chair. I tried to get a photo of just the beautiful woodgrain on the chair, but the abominable cat insisted on being included in the photo-shoot. There are two of these swivel chairs in my spare room. They don’t actually belong to me, but are my Inuvik dad’s. He found them in the dump (well, not exactly the dump, but the chairs were going to be thrown out), and decided to refinish them in the school’s shop. Right now, my spare room is serving as storage space for them. Occasionally, I would just sit in them and spin myself around and around for no apparent reason. They make me feel like a kid again.

Here is the beadwork on my new slippers. They’re the first “northern” item I’ve ever owned, even though I’ve lived up here for almost four years. Every year, I would attend the Christmas craft fair with the intention of purchasing a pair of rabbit or beaver fur mitts, but, I would invariably leave the fair empty-handed. I kept convincing myself that I would not get much use out of them because I would never wear them once I move back south to a city. My mentality toward wearing fur has changed since moving up here. It’s part of the way of life here. I love the woodsy, smoky smell of my slippers. I can imagine the painstaking hours of beading that went into each slipper. They hold extra meaning for me because my sweetie had picked them out for me as a surprise. I feel closer to him whenever I have them on.

I took many more photos, but I’m tired after a week of work, so I’ll save them for another post, perhaps. My poetics have waned for the evening, and my bed is beckoning.

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