Sunday, August 26, 2012

ABC Wednesday-Round 11-Letter F

Black Jack was fortunately happy to pose for some ABC Wednesday photos, featuring the letter "F" this week.

She dragged me up the little hill to the seat-section letters in front of BC Place, I guess associating them with treats, since we had done this a few times before.  
For a new-to-me musician with a letter "F" connection, I've chosen Argentinean Mezzo-soprano, Bernarda Fink.  She does a beautiful performance of the Brahms lullaby, "Wiegenlied" at this youtube link.  If you have a young child at home, or if you just wish to listen to an exquisitely pure voice, I think you will enjoy it.  I found the picture of her at this site.  The site is in Dutch (I believe) but you can also read some biographical information about her in English here.
For a new-to-me artist, I found Elisabeth Frink (1930-1993) in Phaidon's The Art Book (love that book) .  She is on the left in the Wikipedia photo below.    
I photographed the following example of her work from the art book.  It is called "Goggle Head" (just an aside that amuses me: my brain first saw that as Bobble Head) and I found the write-up most interesting, so have copied it under the photo.   "Fascinating and frightening, this menacing head, its identity hidden by shiny goggles, suggests deliberate violence. It evokes images of sophisticated modern-day criminals, dictators' henchmen, or even Hell's Angels motorbike riders.  Smooth in outline, it is executed in the shape of a Classical bust yet possesses a fearsome and disturbing quality.  Random scratches, like those inflicted by an animal, cover its surface.  Frink was one of the first British sculptors to create works in a Neo-Expressionist style, portraying her own feelings about the complex nature of humankind, its strength and its vulnerabilities.  She is equally well known for her sculptures of horses and dogs, which illustrate the sensitivity of her response to nature.  Her last major commission was an impressive and dramatic figure of The Risen Christ, a bronze sculpture that is almost 4 metres (15 feet) high that is now fixed to the facade of Liverpool Cathedral."
My note: She died a week after "The Risen Christ" was unveiled on Easter Sunday, 1993.
I found some other examples of her work and will include two of those as well.  Here is one of running figures that remind me a little bit of Douglas Coupland's sculptures of Terry Fox in Vancouver.  I wonder if he knows her work and perhaps was inspired by her.
And, I am in love with  "Large Rolling Over Horse" shown below (photo taken from this site).  

The rest of my post seems to divide into 5 themes: Flight, Funny (?), Fun, Fountains, and Fancy Free.  There is some overlap between those themes.  Perhaps, by the end of the post, I will have narrowed them down to one main idea. 

Flying in.  (Blue Heron at Rocky Point Park in Port Moody, early in the morning.)
Float to a halt

Final approach.
Feet down.
Green Heron take-oFF (At Deboville Slough).

King Fisher (near Deboville Slough).
I noticed this cormorant when I was walking over the Burrard Bridge.  It shows how birds, with their ability to fly, can be privy to private moments.. weddings.  (At least, I think that is what was happening.)  This seemed funny to me, so I guess, segues nicely to the next theme.  
Do you find these sculptures funny?  Their title is "A-mazing Laughter" and the artist is Yue Minjun.  You can read an article about efforts to keep the statues in Vancouver here. I have observed that many people love them, or at least, they find them amusing.  Tourists pose for pictures, often imitating the postures, and always, with smiles on their faces.  Children run between them, climb around them, and seem happy to spend time with them.  I'm not sure if they find them funny or if they just think of them as a great playground.  

Bill finds them mostly creepy and I waver back and forth.  When I first saw them, they annoyed me.  But, I confess, they have become fixtures at that corner, and I think I might miss them if they disappeared. The other day, I enjoyed getting really close for some intimate shots of expressions against a pale sky.

I just about expected to see tonsils (but didn't).  The creepiness that Bill noticed turned out to have a basis in research.  He told me about a theory called Uncanny Valley that describes a revulsion that many people feel when human replicas look and act almost, but not perfectly, like actual human beings.
Isolating the hand pointed out lines that I had missed previously.  I wonder if those lines have something to do with the "creepy" factor?  They are almost like scars or wounds. 

I thought there was something disarming about the expression from this angle.  What do you think?  Do you find these sculptures funny, fascinating or foul?
This boat on False Creek had the name Fancy Free?  It is a romantic thought.
The day I rode my bike to Deboville Slough, I came to a small bridge.  I was feeling quite warm, and just looking at the water felt refreshing.  
Then I noticed some people and when I zoomed in, saw a lady who appeared to be reading, and others enjoying inner tubes.  I imagine that might be the epitome of freedom.
On the other side of the bridge, I saw this.  I'm guessing those people felt pretty free too.

Then, I looked at my bike waiting for me and saw the beautiful trail ahead, anticipated meeting Bill and Black Jack later, and I'd have to say, I felt like the luckiest person alive.

There are many fountains in Vancouver but I will show you just a few.  The one below is in a small park facing Sunset Beach.  The name, Joe Fortes (1863-1922), has a familiar feeling to it, even for people new to Vancouver.  There is a library and a restaurant named after him, and the fountain below commemorates him fondly. The above link contains the stuff of novels and/or movies - born in Trinidad, worked in England, sailed around Cape Horn, arrived in Vancouver, worked as a shoeshine boy, lived in a tent during the summer, eventually had a small cottage near the beach, devoted his life to teaching children how to swim, was appointed Vancouver's first official lifeguard..  awe-inspiring details.

The words on the other side read as follows: "This fountain erected by the citizens and children co-operating with the Kiwanis Club of Vancouver commemorates the life and deeds of Joe Fortes, for many years guardian of this beach.  Little children loved him.  A.D. 1927"
Joe Fortes teaches swimming at English Bay, Vancouver, circa1912.  (photos at this site).

One other fountain insists on appearing in this "F" post.  There was fun and freedom and funny and maybe even flight all wrapped up in the mood I felt when I saw this dog waiting in the middle of it, while its human called to no avail.  That dog was happy right where it was.

This last fountain had no water in it.  I've gone by it often, but that was the first time I saw it being cleaned.  I took advantage of the moment to isolate the letter "F" within its structure.

As I thought might happen, the theme of this post has boiled down to just that one word. Every picture in this post represents a time when I was enjoying myself, but the rest of the photos were my original choices for the "fun" category.
Watching the bears at Deboville Slough
This fellow came up from the slough as I was riding my bike along the gravel path.  I didn't see him for the long grass, but some people in a boat yelled to me that he was coming.  I stopped my bike, got the camera out (I've found a way to ride with the handle of my Sigma 150-500 hooked in my belt for quick access), and caught this shot.  That is definitely the closest I've been to a bear.  They have such tiny eyes, but their stares are piercing.

He (I just felt he was a he) took a good look, then turned his back and ambled across the road to the other side of the slough.  I loved this opportunity to see the underside of his feet.
Bye-bye, Mr. Bear.  Thank you for this moment!  My heart is beating quite quickly right now, but that's a good thing :)

I suppose I should warn you that this next photo is of bear poo.  But, honestly, it's very pretty.  Not a whole lot of doubt why the blueberry farmers have air guns going most of the day.  Perhaps the noise deters a little, but for sure, the bears at Deboville Slough are well fed.

Watching seagulls
I never tire of watching the seagulls.  This little interaction between a seagull and an Inuksuk really made me smile.
Seagull:I refuse to look at you!  
Inuksuk: Oh come on.  I know I look a bit funny but..
Inuksuk: See, I'm not so bad.  I'm actually kind of cute.  Don't you think?

Seagull: I dunno..  I guess he could grow on me.
Photographing pigeons
Any regular readers will have noticed that I like photographing all birds, but perhaps, the more common ones (seagulls, crows, pigeons, Canada Geese) give me special enjoyment.  Somehow, I'm a bit sad that they are often disrespected and even disliked, just because they have shown themselves to be smart survivors.  And, the darkness behind the dock at Granville Island makes a great background to show off pigeons' beautiful colours.
This one had a feather on its eye and I considered helping it brush off the offending decoration, but a breeze finally came to the rescue right after this photo.  It did look cute :)
Listening to Concerts (especially when they're Free, and especially when the experience can be shared with Bill and Black Jack!  Below, the Carpe Diem string quartet performed for a free CBC outdoor concert.

Bill and Black Jack found a seat in the shade.  I moved around trying to get photos over the crowd.  The quartet played very well, although my pet peeve about using microphones at a volume that is way too loud took a little bit of fun out of the concert. In fact, this concert would have been wonderful with no microphones at all.
The concerts have been really well attended and I am grateful to CBC for making this effort to reach out to the public. 
Standing near Bill, I was able to see the performers between some shrubs.  

I had to smile at Black Jack.  She was so content and so happy.  That day, we had done a sunrise trip to Port Moody, and as you can see, she and Bill were happy to zone out and listen to the music.
Describing her as relaxed would be an understatement.

My final fun activity for this F post is looking for shapes around me that suggest the letter of the week.  This next one was taken the same day that I photographed the pigeons.  Under the Granville dock are many cobwebs.  I added definition and saturation to show up this web and the mossy wood colours around it.  I know this is a stretch, but I thought I sort of saw an F in the photo.  Regardless of whether it is there or not, I loved the exercise of trying.  Thank you so much for taking time to read this very long post.  For other ABC Wednesday ideas, do take some time to check out the ABC Wednesday web site.


  1. What a great set of pictures - for all that I like sculpture , I still love the movement and life of living birds and people even more - the heron, the violin player, the stillness and movement on the river.

    Just splendid.

    Stewart M - Australia

  2. Great variety of "F" shots. Those sculptures are so unique--don't really know how the make me feel. They look freaky and funny at the same time. You got some very vivid shots of the lines in them. The river looked like a very beautiful place to ride your bike.

  3. You are an example of what it is to live life FULLY, Carol. I especially enjoyed learning new things in this post about the artists you discover and the places where you wander. Those laughing statues are intriguing because they evoke different emotions from the viewer at different times. Those look like stitches on the hand. Maybe the laughter is actually a scream of pain? It is always FUN to ponder about art.

  4. i don't know if i'll ever get used to your 'fully-loaded' posts. whew! exhausted!

    i love black jack. but i love that lab in the fountain, too. :)

    cool bear!!!

  5. I love the fun in this post! I think I like the A-mazing Laughter sculptures as a whole. When up close, I can see why some people might find them disturbing. I love flight pictures and pictures of brother Bill and Blackjack!!!! Phyllis

  6. Lots of great pictures, I think the herons in Flight are my favorite, these are just tremendous shots Carol. Black Jack always looks happy to be included too.