Kelpies in Edinburgh

Kelpies in Edinburgh 02The remarkable – and apparently huge – statues of the Kelpies have been a great success since they were erected by the canal near Falkirk, rapidly becoming a landmark as well as an artistic installation. For a short time the original maquettes – the scale versions the actual statues would be based on – are on show in the West End of Edinburgh’s New Town, quite striking even at this scale. I’m looking forward to eventually seeing the full scale versions at some point. As ever, click on the pics to view the large versions on my Flickr.Kelpies in Edinburgh 01

Statues after dark

I’ve shot the Gladstone Memorial several times before, usually in lovely, bright light. Until recently it was inaccessible because of the seemingly endless mess the unwanted and ineptly carried out tram works – not content with blocking entire roads for years as they worked they even buggered up pavements and the small park in the West End where the memorial sits. Walking home from doing some night shots in the city centre recently I saw it was open again and as I was carrying the tripod I paused and thought – why have I never shot this at night? In the dark with only ambient illumination from streetlights several feet away the statues all around the sides of the memorial looked very different from the bright days I had shot them on before.

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The figure of a hooded lady particularly caught my eye and so I thought I’d quickly set up the tripod and camera again and try a couple of shots – quite a dark spot and the camera had to sit with the shutter open for a good while, drinking in every stray photon it could to come out with the above image. I was quite pleased with how it came out, especially shooting in black and white (I never use PhotoShop to greyscale my pics, if it is in B&W it means I shot it in B&W originally, I refuse to bodge or fake my images) – if you click on the image and look at the larger versions on my Flickr you can see it brought out the scant available light so well you can even see a couple of stars in the background. As it had come out so well I decided to take a closer shot and zoomed in – amazing how different the sculptures look after dark, almost creepy…

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Jungle City

In Edinburgh at the moment we have a series of animal statues, each decorated by a different artist, somewhat like the cows one we had a few years back, except this time they are endangered species, part of the Jungle City scheme to highlight the plight of such endangered species and like the earlier cows statues this will go on around other world cities. The statues themselves will be auctioned (sadly I read today some mindless, vile fiends have stolen one but they had to damage it severely to remove it from its plinth) and there are smaller versions of them for sale too. Certainly been making me smile as I wander around town, snapped a bunch of them already, like this beautiful white tiger (with small rider complete with bowler hat and brolly!) right by the side of the National Gallery of Scotland on the Mound:

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This big cat is right by historic Saint Giles Cathedral on the Royal Mile:

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And I love the tartan elephant on the Mound next to the National Gallery of Scotland the Royal Scottish Academy:

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And he has some nearby elephant companions:

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The decoration on this friendly orang-utan reminds me of a children’s picture book (especially Quentin Blake ones):

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This big cat is looking up at the Scott Monument:

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While on the other side of the Monument is this amazingly sparkly cat:

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From a distance I thought it was covered in glitter or something similar, but close up I realised it was covered entirely in very shiny one pence pieces. Here she is with Sir Walter Scott in the background:

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Must get some more pics, quite a few other to snap!

Memorial stolen

Auchengeigh miner's memorial 1
Only a few days ago I was out with my dad and took some photographs of the new statue that was part of an upgraded memorial to the miners who lost their lives in the old Auchengeigh pit. The site commemorates two disasters, from the 30s and the 50s, the latter being especially bad with a large loss of life, men lost in the cold and dark deep beneath the earth. A bloody horrible, dirty, hard, dangerous job at the best of times. The statue of the miner with his head bowed was unveiled only in September to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1959 disaster. And then the other day it was stolen. Yes, stolen. Some utter lowlife scumball bastards stole a memorial to the dead, presumably for the value of the metal.

There are still people today who remember lost loved one who were victims of that disaster, but that won’t matter to these evil bastards. They must have been planning it, they would have needed heavy equipment to remove it. It was there when folks left the nearby Miner’s Welfare the night before and was gone when a local drove past early next morning. I hope they catch the bastards and get the statue back, but more than likely they have some git as unscrupulous and evil as them who is prepared to melt it down for the scrap value.

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It had been raining just before I took this picture and I thought the effect in the close-up was quite good, like a cross between the sweat of hard labour and tears. Its hard not to look at the miner, head bowed and not think of my own papa whose body was broken from work in the mines.
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More of the Louvre

Since blogger is grudgingly and slowly letting me upload some pics tonight, some more pics from Paris, still sticking with the Louvre theme:

I.M. Pei’s glass pyramid which now functions as the entrance to the Louvre, descending down into the pyramid to a vast space with the ticket desks, information and entrances to the various wings of what is probably the world’s most famous museum. Turn the other way and walk through the Jardin de Tuileries and you come out into a square leading your eyes up a line straight to the Champs Elysees and L’Arc de Triomphe.

heading into one of the wings with some of the Louvre’s astonishing amount of Classical material

Which includes the world’s original supermodel, The Venus de Milo. Who I believe is now romantically linked with Paul McCartney 🙂

La Joconde – the Mona Lisa, smiling for the many tourists. While photography seemed to be fine in most of the Louvre they did ask – as is the usual case in any gallery – not to use cameras in the rooms with the paintings, probably because so many idiots don’t know how to switch off their flash which damages them. Despite the fact I rarely use the flash I still kept my camera in my pocket for this wing, despite masses of tourists – especially the many Japanese – merrily ignoring the rule and firing camera flashes off right in front of the paintings which made me want to slap them round the head, bloody idiots. There were so many the curators didn’t even try to stop them. I broke my rule and did take one painting pic for this (no flash so I don’t feel to guilty) as people were standing right there in front of curators snapping away.

One of the things I really liked in the wings with the paintings was the fact that several artists had been allowed to set up their easels to paint their own versions of some of the works, something I found to be rather satisfying to see. Actually La Joconde wasn’t the most impressive painting there, famous as she is – the best work I saw (and there were many we didn’t have time to see properly, it is vast) was one that annoyingly I can’t remember the name of, but it reminded me of one of the Venetian paintings I raved about on here a few years back when there was an exhibition on at the Royal Scottish Academy. I wish I could remember the name or artist, but like a couple of the works I saw there it leapt out the frame at me, the colours, especially the blues, so amazingly bright and vibrant it was like the artist had painted Mediterannean sunlight right into the canvas, still pouring out of the painting centuries later.

In the Richelieu wing there was this terrific open space, essentially a sculpture garden indoors, with this amazing glass and steel roof (like a smaller version of the brilliant one now on top of the British Museum in London) shielding us from the elements so it felt like being outside but sheltered. Natural light floods this space and its twin further along the wing (these are the ones in the video clips from the other day) and a lot of artists were making the most of the light to sketch some of the friezes and sculptures; I’d imagine the statues would afford a great class in how to portray human anatomy and form and what a terrific space to draw in. Or take pictures in.

I love this space, I think I could sit here for ages

Inside the glass pyramid – I love the spiral staircase with no visible means of support (not even thin suspended wires); the column it is wrapped round is actually a lift. Its open at the top and the entire column sinks down – it doesn’t telescope down, the entire structure actually slides down into the floor, very cool!

As usual click the pics to see the larger version on the Woolamaloo Flickr stream (only 184 in the Paris set so far, still a ton to add; no doubt many more Paris pics and vids to come!)