Tuesday, 15 June 2010

All my books in one picture


Simon from Stuck in a Book is challenging people to sum up their reading tastes in a single photo. I came across the challenge on the wonderful Farmlane Books. This is fascinating, and wonderful (we are so used to being drawn to covers that there's an inbuilt connection between books and images in all of us, such that we see a picture and can make a choice about the book ofetn without reading a word), but one of the easiest challenges I've ever been set. I'm sure my choice is no surprise. Sarah E Melville's "What's the Point of Living Anyway" is the reason she's my cover artist of choice precisely because it says everything about the things I love in a book - a sense of displacement; fragility; dystopia; deep unease; an oasis of hope; loneliness and longing. Everything is in this one image.




For more of Sarah's art go here. For her amazing blog go here. For details of her upcoming live shows in the UK go here.

16 comments:

  1. Interesting choice! I love the way this image portrays loneliness and dystopia, but I'm afraid I'm not fond of the red bra. The red bra conjures up images of rape for me - I'd have prefered it to be a red piece of cloth. It is a striking image though.

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  2. For me the thrown-aside bra is like the last vestige of civilisation being tossed aside - it's like a gateway to the desert. But I agree there unsettling undertones, and I do wonder what the real story behind it is - Sarah came across the scene as she was driving along the road (that's her car parked up so she could take the snap)

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  3. I'll confess that I have an off-the-wall reaction to that picture, Dan :-) It reminds me of the bra fence that existed for several years in one of my favourite parts of New Zealand. I never actually contributed, as I don't carry many spares when travelling.

    Although the linked article doesn't mention it, I've heard some people say they put bras there as a small gesture of triumph to having survived breast cancer, or even as a quirky memorial to a lost loved one.

    I suppose this goes to show something of the range of ways in which we respond to images.

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  4. Wow, I had no idea! I think (hope) the many many layers of reaction are a sign not just of how rich and diverse people are, but of a great image - I think Sarah has an incredible eye for that kind of image.

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  5. How interesting is learning how people from other cultures express themselves. Thank you Shayne for your input!

    Dan, even before reading your post I thought: "How fitting." heh Excellent choice! :)

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  6. Well, it was meant to be a compliment. Sorry if I didn't express myself well?

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  7. Absolutely I took it as a compliment :) I was making a joke at the idea that a picture of a bra on a fence seemed perfect for me :)

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  8. I would've guessed you'd pick this one if someone had asked me. I think this is an extension of all your writing and maybe a small part of you. (Me too).

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  9. yes, it's almost as though Sarah took the photo knowing I was going to come along!

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  10. Haha! I'm suck a dork! If you like bras and fences together, who am I to criticize? lol

    Hey, don't this kind of fence hurts a bit? Or you're one of those guys who are found of pain? ;P

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  11. Ha ha! no way, I have a pain threshold of about zero :)

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  12. This image, more than all the others, has an implicit sense of narrative. I love how a story is being told within a single frame (even though, as the comments suggest, the events and implications are wholly dependent on the viewer). What a provocative (and thought-provoking) response to Simon's challenge!

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  13. While driving a few years ago I too came across a similar image. On a back road here in Virginia two brightly colored bras were dangling from the branch of a tree on the side of the road. I also stopped and took a picture.

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  14. @Dormouse - thank you - Sarah has an extraordinary eye, and I think it shows in her photographs that she's also an amazing writer, with a storyteller's brain

    @Leazwell - it sounds like there's a whole set of similar vistas - here in the UK gangs mark their territories by tying trainers (er, sneakers?) in trees. I wonde if there's something similar going on.

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  15. Articles that are nice and very interesting. I like to read the articles you make...

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