Light Numbers

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The essence of understanding photography is understanding light. Stand any object near a window and capture the light falling on it and you will get a great shot.  I love this image where the light is coming through an old window pane, casting criss cross patterns over the medieval stone and hymn stand of St. Gwynog Church, Llanwnog.

The hymn numbers could be for a wedding, funeral, a baptism maybe, but probably it is a Sunday morning service, a regular new day in any city, town or village and we all look forward to those.





Alcatraz Yarn

Had a break from the blog recently, as I was on a family trip to San Francisco.  I was surprised to find the weather glorious for February in a city renowned for its cool Summers and rolling fog.  Clearly a trip to Alcatraz Island was on the must-do list!

Alcatraz Island
Alcatraz Island

You buy a ticket for the boat over to the Island including an Audio tour and your allowed to freely take photographs.  Famous for unlikely heroes such as Al Capone and The Birdman (apparently not liked by anyone, guards or inmates) it wasn’t too busy and  I could happily stick my lens through the bars and snap away.

The cells are only 9ft by 5ft wide and although it was hard to imagine the place occupied by menacing folk, I could well imagine the prospect of years confined up in a darkend cell, with the thought of the city of San Francisco so close and unobtainable, that some prisoners would take the opportunity to take up a hobby such as painting.

One such prisoner was George Heck, you can see his cell below in which they now exhibit copies of his work.

George Heck Cell
George Heck Cell

George was banged up in Alcatraz for kidnapping, from March 1944 until 1952 and remarkably he was allowed to exhibit his work in San Francisco whilst still an inmate in 1949. Four of his works were in fact sold.

I imagine one attraction for Heck was to add colour to his cold, metallic surroundings and to get down on paper his hopes and dreams of what lay so agonising near across the bay in San Fran.

These days San Francisco is obviously a place teeming with colour and culture including all the arts and we weren’t disappointed  when we headed through Golden Gate Park for our evening at the California Academy of Science. Heading past the De Young Fine Arts museum, and its distinctly cold tower, this splash of colour caught my eye.

Streetcolour - Bike Rack
Streetcolour – Bike Rack

Its clearly a bike rack, but look, it’s not photobombing the exhibition of the late Keith Haring.  (Keith of “Crack is Wack” and colloborator of Grace Jones, Andy Warhol and William S. Burroughs, was a young graffitti influenced New York artist, who died tragically young in 1990 at aged only 31. )

It’s actually known as Yarnbombing!  The street art of decorating objects with knitted yarns in bright colours. It has been Yarnbombed by De YOUNG’S recent artist in residence, the street artist “Streetcolour”

I’d like to think there was another inmate at Alcatraz who like Heck wanted to add colour to his existence there, but took up knitting and yarnbombed his cell instead !   I’ll let you know if I discover them 🙂