Wednesday, April 29, 2009

O Is For Oddity

It Figures, Doesn’t It?

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON


When you have a camera in your hand, don’t you always feel compelled to look everywhere, to all points of the compass, just to ensure you don’t miss anything that might make an unusual photograph?

This was taken on a hot, humid December afternoon in Singapore. I only spent a day and a half there and I had an eastbound flight to catch very soon. But I simply had to cover as many miles on foot as possible, just to ensure that I hadn’t missed anything in a city that has captivated me since I was in primary school.

With the clock ticking down, I was on my way to the famous Raffles Hotel and took a short cut, hurrying (legally) across the stepping stones of a fairly large water feature in parkland. A long way to my left, I saw what seemed to be people in fancy dress, sitting on a bench.

No, I didn’t have any time to spare. I wasn't going to miss my flight, no matter what happened. But when you’re in a situation like this, you simply have to investigate it, don’t you? You can’t just pretend you didn’t see it. You can’t just walk away, a slave to time that ticks inexorably away, and always wonder what it was that you were never able to determine.

So I checked it out. I jogged a little closer until I realised that the figures were actually an art installation in the grounds of the Singapore Art Museum, housed in a sprawling colonial-era building. Luckily I had my 18-125mm lens on the camera, so I was able to shoot the scene from across the wide thoroughfare.

The interesting aspect, in my mind, was that all five heads were at different angles, as if emphasising that there are many ways to look at any situation. Just before I walked on, I composed a slightly different shot because I wanted to include the old-fashioned street light and the blue-and-white sign.

And as soon as I had the shot composed, I realised there was another neat (but unintended) facet to the shot. Look carefully and you'll see there are five of the high colonial archways, so common in tropical climates, in the shot. In other words, one archway for each of the figures.

It’s not every day you get a chance to shoot a figure of speech. Or five figures of speech.


For the home of ABC Wednesday, go to Mrs Nesbitt's Place.

44 comments:

lakeviewer said...

David, how fun to discover such precious things and be able to capture them for us! Then, you help us see all the angles, too. What an education for me, just now enjoying all that's around me and asking myself, where I have been all these years.

Many who are passionate about their art are also silent about it. You are vocal and passionate. Not to mention, kind and generous with your readers. If you ever need character witnesses, you know where you can find us. Have a nice day, my roving friend

Tee aka The Diva's Thoughts said...

What a really cool shot.

Ananda girl said...

When I found your blog I didn't even own a camera. Then, I bought a simple digital with help from my son who understands pixels,etc. Now it is always with me and though I am no photographer in any reality close to your level, I am having the time of my life. Yes, it has altered what I look at and how I see it. Much improvement! Thanks for the inspiration.

Sniffles and Smiles said...

What a wonderful piece!! How terrific you didn't let your schedule get in the way ... This was well worth any delay! Super shot!

Grace Albaugh said...

I love these unexpected surprises in life . The ones that, as you said, you just can't pass up. I think we should look for something to add a little sparkle every day.

Cheers!

Daryl said...

the pink one is a bit cheeky ...

Moannie said...

Like Amanda girl I have been inspired by you to take more care with my point and click camera and you have kindly commented on my improvement [I wish I could say in all honestly that I saw it and planned it].
Brilliant story and perfect serendipity.

Tranquility said...

What a fun discovery! They are so intriguing - I want to walk up to them to examine them more closely!

James said...

Oddity yes, and the five colonial archways make sense in a very odd way. You get an O for Outstanding post!

Cheffie-Mom said...

How fun!! The art looks like it's made out of yarn!!

Elizabeth Bradley said...

Glad you had your camera. Good yarn, did somebody else say that?

RuneE said...

I'm speechless... :-)

Mojo said...

My "camera brain" is always turned on whether I have an actual camera in hand or not. But I find that when I'm shooting more often, it's more finely tuned and when I actually have the camera on me more so yet.

Reasons to be Cheerful 1,2,3 said...

Wonderful quirky shot. I just bought a bigger memory card for my camera - you've got a lot us inspired!

Maggie May said...

Very unusual to see those figures and to be able to snap them. Also liked your idea of the heads turning all ways to embrace all kinds of art and the five archways ..... one for each figure.That was very deep, especially as you were in such a hurry!

Corey~living and loving said...

ou always seem to get the deeper meaning. I love that about you, David!

happy day!

Rinkly Rimes said...

They look like rag dolls. Obviously they've fallen-out with each other!

Merisi said...

Oh yes, we understand, fully, you had to investigate, no matter what!

I am glad that you did not miss the flight either!

Janie said...

At first I thought they were giant knitted dolls.
Great shot of a true oddity!

Sylvia K said...

What a fabulous shot! And how wonderful to come upon it by accident! You do manage to do such wonderful things with your cameras and I do appreciate them all. You're a great role model for us bloggers and would be photographers! Thanks, as always, for this ABC Wednesday shot!!

Anya said...

They are CUTER as CUTE :)
Lovely funny shot ;)
Happy WW !!

Pat - Arkansas said...

"O" is for yet "one more" fascinating tale and accompanying photographs. Thanks, David.

Hilary said...

What a fun shot.. you never fail to miss these beauties.

Leslie: said...

Love the shots and those figures really are odd, aren't they? They kind of look like aliens from the early '80s, the way they're dressed.

Mara said...

You were completely right to take this photo. What a fun and beautiful shot.

Babooshka said...

Odds on you'd have a outrageous o. To be without a camera is one of my worst nightmares. Here's why you wouldn't want to miss this novel O.

Gennasus said...

Good choice for 'O', certainly not something you see every day. And you're right about having camera and looking at everything, I'm doing that more and more now.

Thanks for coming over from the wonderful Suldog, nice to meet you!

marcia@joyismygoal said...

What a good post I recommend it for Post of the Day!! you have a way with words that puts this (my)photographers mind to words. I so feel the same way about looking around and can't miss a thing-- Though sometimes I do miss out on conversations:(

Kelly H-Y said...

Very cool!!

diXymiss said...

Wonderful, serendipitous catch ~ a good candidate for Katney's Odd Shots meme too!

Pouty Lips said...

Yes, when I have a camera in my hands I am compelled to look at the world from every thinkable angle. I learned that from you.

Smartee said...

Someone really knows a dummy when he sees one... and he saw that many! Wow!

Dora said...

They're still there but are getting more dirty. ;p

Gwendoswine said...

dirty... pigs... a running gag runs amok

Tumblewords: said...

What fun this is. A vision that sticks. Thanks for sharing!

spacedlaw said...

Oooh, very odd indeed.

gaz said...

bizarre! i like it.

mine’s here

Karyn said...

Very cool!

Patty said...

Ah, yes, but when you have a camera in your hand you are a slave to it. I know I am. I can never leave the house without at least one camera, and I am always late, no matter where I am going, unless it is on assignment.

Sometimes I have to force myself to leave my friends at home, and you know what happens when you do that? Feature shots are everywhere. And when you need a feature shot you can ride the roads all day and end up having to shoot a silhouette.

Cath said...

You always see the most unusual things! I am sure they put them out especially for you...

Granny Smith said...

Your eye is unfailing and your camera is always in hand. A wonderful pair of shots - and I guess you caught your plane.

becky aka theRAV said...

How cute! Don't ya love it when this happens. Its like we are always rushing and we need to stop and smell the roses for a moment or capture an odd shot like this one.

Your EG Tour Guide said...

This post made me smile! Glad you took that photo.

Rose said...

Interesting photos! I appreciate seeing the two perspectives of the same scene and learning how you choose to composes a photo. I do hope it's not snowing there any more!