Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Snow and Ice

The temperature overnight went down even further to minus 18 degrees, which meant that there was frost on top of frost and the results were spectacular. The walk this morning was even more slippery but brought its own rewards in the shape of yet more beautiful winter images.

After reading a fellow quilter's blog yesterday on the subject of visual cliches, I was thinking about not only those but also verbal cliches and became aware of the fact just how many visual cliches I was creating with my camera. Not only is everyone with a camera in Scotland capturing very similar images but the "bleak midwinter" has been portrayed by artists through the centuries.

Is that a reason not to repeat these cliches? No, I don't think so. For a start the pictures I take with my camera here and now, are unique to me. I shoot them because I need to somehow hang on to these beautiful moments in life. They help me through when times are hard(er) and not quite so scenic. I'm also storing them in my subconscious mind by continually telling myself this is a day in my life I MUST remember. Try it, it really works!

But also there is a reason that some visual and verbal cliches have become so! It's because we humans seem to adore and admire the same things. Ideas of beauty are common to all humanity and so we all need to find ways and means to hang on to beauty when and if we see and/or hear it.

Just check out the blips for today! There are endless snow and winter pictures and they are precious to the people who went out with their cameras and took their respective blips. Mine can be seen just above and what a cliche this is: a lane, snow, a tree, blue sky. More cliche almost isn't possible. But to me, this was today, one day in my life, and a very treasured one at that!

I'll end this blog about winter and cliches with a verbal cliche if ever there was one! But again, it typifies this day for me:
In the bleak mid-winter
Frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
snow on snow,
In the bleak mid-winter,
Long ago.
(Christina Georgina Rossetti)


Lenna Young Andrews said...

Your photographs are really amazing, Frieda. Very artistic, very much capturing a beautiful moment. The only thing I don't like is, I think this weather is the culprit to why you have not received my package of ATCs yet! I will be patient . . .
: ) lenna

Caren Kristine said...

I live in the southern USA, we are lucky to get a dusting of snow every 10 years. OMG!!! Those pictures are so amazing. My kids are so jealous. Thank you for sharing.

arts4all said...


Thank you for your carefully considered 'ode to the cliche.' Read Elizabeth's blog post about her opinion regarding visual cliches and agreed only with some of it. Yours is the more forgiving and certainly less cynical view!!! As you say, how can your own photo of what you see captured in an instant of cosmic time be a cliche, or are your photos any the less beautiful for it? Far more interesting and appealing to me than worrying about what one is doing being a cliche, is the vision of Scotlanders all outside happily taking photos of these perfect wintery scenes, then crunching through the snow to their cozy kitchens for hot cocoa or a nip of something a bit stronger. If this is behavioral cliche, then so be it!

The human condition is not so varied that we can avoid the repetitive. I suppose the determination whether any tangible representation of an emotion is art or not, can only be a matter of personal opinion.

There is also the study of meme theory which might explain a certain amount of the imitative nature of styles of quilts or paintings or other art. Neither can every quilter or other artist come up with something absolutely unique every single time. And if Elizabeth isn't careful, people will begin to copy her edgy, architectural style and then it will become a cliche as well.

The Quilted Librarian said...

I love all of your snow pictures because the artist's eye is behind them all.
Stay warm.
Greeting from below freezing North Carolina,


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