Two posts ago I posted an image of a leaf on the side of the pavement. I loved the textures in the leaf and the road and how they juxtaposed. That image was seen as I walked down the road and realised that a picture was there as I stepped over the leaf. I avoided it quite purposely because it was beautiful and I want to respect nature more and more as I get older, and nature and I get more fragile. In this case the leaf was old and the wind was blowing it away – a natural process. Of course these ideas were not in my head when I made that image. It all came from the subconscious. Since then I have trying to dig out what the appeal of that moment was and why I instantly wanted to photograph it.
Well, blow me down if I wasn’t walking down the street, with my daughter, a few days later when I saw this lone little agapanthas flower wilting away on the hot pavement. It was amazing how much empathy rose up in me so I made this image – again, it jumped at me, it was not an image I was looking to make and I adjusted nothing but my composition. Why did I feel empathetic towards this lonely little flower? Well, that is easy to explain: In our part of Karori there are lots of agapanthas on the sidewalks and at this time of the year they have a profusion of blooms. They are native to South Africa and remind me of my childhood. We have now lived in Karori for 20 years and every year I notice the children walking down the pavements with a stick in hand and use that stick to hit the flower heads off the plant. I don’t know why or how this “custom” arose but it upsets me: How could our children disregard such beauty? why do we as parents allow it? why do we as society say nothing? In the end, it is the little things that matter so when I look at this little flower wilting on the pavement I feel empathy, not just for the flower but for the whole of humanity.
If we can’t appreciate and respect the little things of beauty then what?