At The Exhibition


The distance front to back in the picture is foreshortened. The lens on the camera is of a focal length that produces a picture pretty much as the eye would see it. So why the foreshortening?

I guess that had I looked instead of taking a picture, the scene would have appeared foreshortened because that is how perspective works.

In reality (whose reality) the exhibit is a square. It is a square of tiny trees on a thin bed of sand. I forget the number – 17,500 or something like that. It took a host of regular staff and volunteers 119 hours working eight hour shifts to lay it all out. I may have got those numbers wrong, but it’s something like that.

The artist is Zadok Ben-David, and the exhibition is in the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art at Kew Gardens, and is entitled ‘Natural Reserve’

Why I took the picture

In fact I took two pictures, one after the other. I liked the black graphic shapes of the two women against the plain wall. I liked this one of the two pictures because the woman’s hand is raised opposite the white hair of the other woman. She looks like she could be pushing her away or mesmerising her.

And I like the way the black of the furniture behind the woman on the right almost looks as though it is part of her. It’s as though she is wearing a dress with a very large bustle.

What is a woman’s bustle?

The dictionary says that a bustle is a padded undergarment used to add fullness, or to support the drapery at the back of women’s dresses. They are worn under the skirt in the back, just below the waist, to keep the skirt from dragging. Bustles were in fashion in the mid-to-late 19th century. And I am wondering what mischief was prevented by the bustle. Why was it bad for a skirt to drag? Perhaps the roads were muddy.

Back On The Subject Of Perspective

There was a clamour of annoyance in some of the newspapers when the COVID lockdown was relaxed a little last year. People were photographed cheek by jowl on the seafront, flouting the rules about social distancing. In fact, the photographer had photographed the scene with a long focal length lens. And that foreshortened the scene dramatically, making everyone seems closer than they were in reality as the scene receded into the distance.

The camera always lies.

At The Exhibition 2

After I wrote this and posted it, I noticed that the URL ends with /at-the-exhibition-2/

Why the ‘2’, I wondered. Well, I must be a creature of habit because in 2019 I wrote a post with the exact same title.

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