Carrying on a fine Tradition


On a recent arrival home from some time away, one of the first things I noticed was an arrangement of decorative seasonal gourds on the dining room table. Miss Z was following in my footsteps, discovering the joys of the local market and had brought home a colourful harvest for the family to share. Each one is unique and riotous in its markings, much like our tribe, and worthy of joining the painterly edits that I have been amassing over the last few years.

This particular edit brought to mind a post about the etiquette of food photography where the ongoing conversations in the comments had led to much reflection on how I wound up with so many shots of ordinary fruit and veg in my own archives.

Twenty odd years ago as my son and I were zooming up a street, I saw a kid outside of his garage selling large canvases of close-ups of the most magnificent mangoes and plums, odd veg and seafood in the most brilliant colours and rendered in an energetic impressionist style. It was just that flash of something extraordinary that made me pull up the car and go and have a look – I should have bought them right then and there, but could ill afford it and so I went to visit his other works in a few cafes and a gallery, later looked for his stuff online, googled them years after and always regretted not having deprived myself of something else to have been able to look upon that luscious fruit every day.

It marked me in much the same way that Wayne Thiebaud had an influence on how I see the ordinary. It is that driving need to tell the story of the very basic stuff of life, the things that go unnoticed, the colours and shapes we ignore in the busyness of it all – that is what keeps me taking food photos. Photography is all about the way we transform what we see so that we can give others a glimpse and get them thinking, remembering, wondering, engaging and even taking part in keeping the creative process dynamic.

So yes, I do take pictures of my food: I can revel in them at will, remember exactly what I was thinking or doing, ascribe circumstance or tradition, have them stand out as markers in that timeline of life. They are mine… and now they are yours.

Out of the Earth comes my Pleasure


An acquaintance has a keen eye for produce (among other things) and has been kind enough to encourage my painterly treatment of his photographs. What thrills me the most is that we seem to see the natural in much the same way. This bounty of turnips could not be any more glorious for their story of early mornings, simpler times, hands pulling the harvest from the dark fragrant soil to send to market. When the divine took a brush to this humble vegetable, it was for us to look upon such things with renewed wonder and breathe in with gratitude the overlooked beauty that surrounds us.

Going Nuts


Walking a lovely tree-lined avenue can be a dangerous proposition these days. The squirrels have no appetite for these thorny projectiles and perch high in the branches laughing while pedestrians jump at narrow misses. The ravens, however, are thrilled and gather to pick through the debris for choice bits: those they cannot crack in their bills are dropped from a height to shatter against the sidewalks. I suspect they choose their moments.

Two Cents Tuesday Challenge: Harvest – Week 2


here and there

Summer is gone. The air has changed bringing that tinge of frost to darker mornings and earlier nights. In the city, we judge how far into the season we are by the bend of wilted perennials and the gradations of leafy colour quickening along the avenues.  Nature seems to keep pace with the rhythm of the urban environment, never stopping to take a breath or ease into the season but leaping headlong in some frenetic rush to finish autumn before the snows come. The romantic in us longs to be out in the country, tromping about in big boots and woolly scarves, kicking around the edge of new-mown fields or just sitting on a fence taking in the glory of it all but we must content ourselves with more virtual views for the moment.

October reminds us it is time to make sure we are set for the duration, to check that all the plans we laid in spring, all the projects dreamed about on sunny afternoons and languid August nights, are in place and ready to be realized. It is as much about reflecting on what has been accomplished as it is to looking forward in hope, setting larger goals and taking the first steps towards the new. Like this fortnight’s Two Cents Tuesday Challenge theme – Harvest – we reap what we have sown.

Last week, Across the Bored asked – “How do you see harvest at this time of year?” – Pumpkins sweet and squash to eat, family near,the holiday blear, pilgrims and the past or things that don’t last, falling leaves or the hopes we retrieve … We would love to see your vision.

For all those who are new readers to Across the Bored, some great entries and the guidelines for this fortnight’s challenge can be found here. Need more info or want to browse past themes? Have a look at HOW DOES THIS WORK.

Story Challenge: Letter “R”

Should we be worried?

The garden is a touchstone, the ever-morphing Reality check that tells us what is Really happening in the natural world.  A moment of brilliant sunshine found Across the Bored in the back yard, in search of inspiration and a snack on the last few Raspberries clinging to the vine. Where the lilies grow in the heat of summer, this Random garden thing was found, a Righteously Reptilian Rustic Response for Frizztext’s  Story Challenge: Letter “R”.

R you able to find and R for the challenge in your Realm?

Travel theme: Foliage

One stretch away from dessert

Who knew photo challenges could be addictive? By Saturday night, we were wondering whether the universe had left us out of the loop and put out a wordpress query asking as much. Lo and behold, an answer did come out of the ether from Ailsa at Where’s my backpack? kindly inviting Across the Bored to participate in her challenge – Travel theme: Foliage.

In our part of the world fall foliage is a big deal – one can see gorgeous examples hanging over every street corner, maples and oak fanning glorious like peacocks on parade.  Central Canada and the Northeast Kingdom of the US have become an autumn tourist destination, with both the curious and well-acquainted making the trek to see just how vividly nature shows her colours.

In our backyard, we are surrounded by cedars, juniper, evergreens and an odd assortment of overgrown flowering bushes; the towering hundred year old maple will only turn long after many of its brethren are quite bare and so the bounty is of a different sort. Juicy pears and raspberries that have been here longer than anyone remembers are our harvest – just in time for thanksgiving.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Near and Far

A shift in perspective

This week’s photo challenge: Near and Far brought to mind that visitors to our city have often been primed by picture-perfect postcard views and sweeping panoramas taken from the many lookouts. They are rarely disappointed but the local art and architecture sometimes becomes a shadowy backdrop for those who live here year round. In this photograph, a hazy autumn afternoon had found us playing the role of guide for a friend who had never been to the Oratory – we had taken an alternate route than usual to get there, one that circled around the back of the mountain and it offered up the landmark in a very different light.  It asked for nothing but quiet contemplation – a gentle reminder that beauty is always there when we choose to stop and refocus.