Where Colour Photography Began

Mount Shasta - 1916
Mount Shasta – 1916

Words escape me…! These images, in colour and black and white, were taken by National Geographic Society photographers in the early 20th century, curated by Retronaut and showcased by Mashable ,are something to behold. Enjoy, but don’t follow the links unless you have lots of time to spare! That’s if you enjoy photographs, as I do.

These Autochromes – the first commercially available color photographic process – were taken by National Geographic Society photographers. The Society eventually moved on to other slightly more advanced photographic processes and finally to Kodachrome by 1938, but not before amassing a collection of more than 12,000 Autochromes.

These images are truely amazing. An amazing document of the time, of photography and the people (including youthful celebs). Scroll down the page to find more archive images and articles too.

Hat tip to Michael in Canada for sending me the link and bows to Mashable, the National Geographic Society and Retronaut. These images need to be seen, and appreciated.

Keen To Lern!

When I wrote my first letter applying for a job I was unschooled and innocent (ignorant). Not only was I applying for a job I wasn’t qualified for (no, I didn’t have a driving licence, no, not (yet) 21 years old and no (save for amateur tinkering about) experience as a photographer). However, I wrote, I am keen to lern. Apparently my spelling learn wrongly got me an interview because the employer liked the spirit behind my writing – and I also shared my first name with his daughter! Anyway I got the job. I did learn a great deal and became almost a member of the family. Early learning, (I was probably 17 years old at the time) stays deeply embedded in ones self (body/mind) and I’m still at the point where I could probably  print black and white prints at speed, perhaps with my eyes closed!

Like most children I learned to ride a bicycle which when I started seemed completely impossible. But I persisted, fell off, climbed back on again until I could steer a steady course across the lawn. And in no time I was tooling up and down the main road and riding no hands down the local hill, on a minor road. Riding a bike is complex learning and to make the point a chap illustrates in this video how difficult it is to unlearn and then relearn riding a modified bike. His learning looks as difficult as that old childhood trick of rubbing your tummy while tapping the top of your head. That’s had many a youngster engaged, or distracted, while practicing something which is essentially useless!

But, or however, I’ve remained keen to learn and over the years my unschooled state has changed to something resembling ‘educated’. Not in a traditional sense probably. My point, and there is one, is that the brain can learn to do new things, it can and does change itself fundamentally.  And what we call the self, isn’t what we think!

Jedi Order (Star Wars) vs. Buddhist Quiz

Bit of fun for you.
Yoda vs. Buddha. Enlightenment means stepping away from the dark side, something on which both masters of Buddhism and the Jedi Order agree. But can you tell the difference between the insight of Yoda and the insight of the Buddha?

Enlightenment means stepping away from the dark side, something on which both masters of Buddhism and the Jedi Order agree. But can you tell the difference between the insight of Yoda and the insight of the Buddha?

From the BBC Radio 4 website

The illustrations on-line for the BBC Radio 4 series, Incarnation: India in 50 Lives are worth taking a look at.

Thanks to my walking companion for pointing out this quiz. I got 5 out of 10. However, I was guessing the answers so that’s fairly good I thought.

Benign Attention

Varanda in FinlandThis is a veranda in Finland. Somewhere. The picture taken very recently. By a reader (thank you for sending it). The image is especially attractive to me combining as it does peeling paint, soft colours and plants striving to lengthen out of their pots.

My ‘bean stalk’ Ivy, now down to a managable size, had to be wrestled out of it’s pot so entangled the root system. Left to their own devices and with fairly benign attention plants grow.

As do we.

And here is a Finnish Proverb:
Niin metsä vastaa kuin sinne huudetaan.
Translation: The forest answers in the same way one shouts at it.

Think about it.

Expanding and Contracting Self – Who ‘s Measuring!

1Zen Ivy
Young creatures grow and expand at an alarming rate. Before you know it they have outgrown their shoes and clothing tugs tight. Hair gets longer – and longer and the first cut is an event to remember. Sometimes with tears and screams. Depending. Some save a lock so precious is that sign of development. So fast this expanding, each day, week, month brings a gasp of amazement. Soon speech and exploration, nothing is sacred for a toddler. Yes, an expanding and exploring self, developing before our very eyes. In no time that toddle is walking arm on arm to music and applause. Another cycle about to begin.

Then the slow trickle. Imperceptibly expansion turns around into contraction. For sure there is some breathing out and breathing in, the growth and decline and growth again however, imperceptibly, contraction. The world, the horizon, extents just past finger tips.   Hair thins, clothes hang, nails horn like. Ballance once a challenge towards standing now a challenge of a different kind and magnitude. Vastly different.  The self contracts? Diminishes? Or so it might appear.

I have been using the expression ‘diminished capacity’ as a catch-all phrase for those whose world is closing in on them. Mentally, physically and emotionally. I’m shaking, she tells me on the phone. Another and another speaks of what life has become. However while my elderly friends might smile ruefully at my recently, severely diminished, ivy plant picture above, (and that’s another story) there is dignity and  depth in the sedate stepping. Gnarled hands indeed but the vital life, inner life, does not fade from the eyes. However sunken or hooded they may become.

What we call the self is not what we think!