Saturday, 18 September 2010

Day 261, on which John looks at more of Thomsen's photos (and not just because he's Icelandic) [18.9.10]

Dag to hundrede énogtres. I still feel bad. Don't know exactly what it is. Whatever it is, I probably shouldn't be moaning about it to you. However, whilst I haven't been able to go out anywhere, I've been quite productive! I've been working hard on that story of mine, the one which will be in small sections, illustrated by Lego scenes. Much like Bart De Dobbelaer's Prometheus, and The Life Aquatic with Clumsy Pete, but better. I hope. I'm really trying to make the reader empathize for the characters, so there's some really bold personalities there.

The only problems is making the reader care for the main character, who has ended up as the least colourful character because he has to go through everything and still narrate in the same voice. It's tough work trying to show his personality, but I've got a few ideas that will hopefully show it by the time the story finishes. The general plot is this: a large freighter is unexpectedly dragged down into the atmosphere of a planet on a remote system whilst transporting a vital cargo. It crashes and the crew are left without a ship, to fend for themselves on the dunes of the sandy planet (*cough* not Tatooine *cough*), and hopefully find some way off...

The story will end up being in about a hundred sections. Hopefully less. I'm currently at 55, and they're quite lengthy chapters. About half a page of A4 in 12pt font, I'd estimate. But it varies. I'm thinking of now referencing back to the crew members' pasts, much like Lost. The story is really a pastiche of inspiration. It originally started because of the fantastic online game Morningstar, but it's since moved away from that so don't think you'll find out the ending from playing it. The bit I'm writing at the moment is very much like Aperture Science, and you'll see the odd Star Wars reference in there I bet. Nonetheless, it's much more interesting, understandable and the characters are much more likable than in Mr. De Dobbelaer's series. No offense to him, he's a better builder than me, but I'm taking this story writing thing seriously.

OK, I mentioned Pétur Thomsen's photographs yesterday but I felt it best to show a better set of his today. And also to feed that Icelandic landscape lover in all of us.

Whilst the 'il y a' project is great, Thomsen had to give in to the call of all the Icelandic photographers and photograph the landscape. This is all in his set named 'Imported landscapes'. However, what I like about 'Imported landscapes' is that Pétur has not just shown the landscape, but humans interacting with the landscape in the form of a massive construction site. It's an interesting contrast piece between the snow-swept peaks of Iceland's dramatic landscape, and the unnatural building materials piling up around it. Very clever.

This shot is one of my favourites; it has such depth and soft, coloured lighting. The tracks seem really deep, and the ramp leads you up into the photo.

Here you can see Thomsen's contrasting at its best. The man-made hill of soil seems to fit in to the contours of the natural hillside behind it, but it's still in contrast. It's as if the photo is a transition; from the natural at the top, through to the digger-ruined ground at the bottom.

I like to think of this one as a man-scale still life. It seems like it's made of bold, bright elements arranged across the floor. We have the bright red container, the spindly repetition of the grilles at the top, then some other, softer elements scattered around the rest of the frame. Perhaps there's a contrast between the identical metal grilles and the messy piles of planks elsewhere.

Here the division between the man-made and the natural is almost invisible. Where does the rock start and the scaffolding end?
This one's here just for its wacky composition. It seems to show that the Icelandic landscape is still difficult to work with, despite all the construction sites.
Man-made installations into the landscape are creating new spaces.
This is my favourite. The contrast between the crisp lines of the girders and beams of the man-made structure and the almost paper-like texture of the snowy slopes behind it. This texture makes the photo look almost purposefully grainy, but it's just the background.

That's all I have time for at the moment, but please check out Pétur Thomsen's site for more photos from 'Imported landscapes'. They're all brilliant.

~John

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