The View From The End Of The World

Autumn Leaves

is one of my favourite songs, I especially like Eva Cassidy’s rendition, although it has become a bit of a jazz standard and there are as many versions as there a jazz musicians, all of which I love. There is something about this season that says it is time to prepare for winter, to gather firewood, to harvest the last of the fruit and vegetables, to prepare for a time of reflection ahead of new beginnings in spring.

St. Andrews, Little River

I wonder if perhaps that is a good analogy for the season we are in, where the Covid-19 virus is bringing a swift end to the summer of the free market which was supposed to bring wealth to all, but which has instead brought wealth to a few and insecurity to many.

The image above was taken in the churchyard of St. Andrews church at Little River, about an hour from Christchurch. A great great great grandmother of mine may or may not have been married there. (She had a very interesting life, the marriage to which I refer came after a number of children had already arrived in the family)

Luncheon at Little River

I was at the church two years ago giving some training, and it being a lovely autumn day we all had lunch in the grounds outside.

Now of course I can’t go anywhere apart from very locally to photograph the autumn leaves. A photographer friend and I had planned a week in the high country about now, hoping to return with enough wonderful images to blog for a year and make my name as a landscape photographer. Not to be this year.

For many many people this pandemic has done far more than disrupt artistic endeavour. The golden age of air travel appears to be over, and with it much of the industry I have spent most of my life in, aviation. My retirement plans may be brought forward, but many are coping with massive financial disruption that will change their lives. Even if they are not affected directly by this awful illness. All of us however are going to see massive change, and the world will never be the same. I guess my photographic wanderings will be much closer to home for the foreseeable future, not that that is a burden, I live in one of the most scenic places on earth.

Queens Park Avenue

For now however as the photo lab has been closed for the last month, and me confined to barracks so to speak, I am looking at my archives for inspiration. And inspiration there is, as the first rolls of film I shot when I returned to the medium two years ago are full of wonderful autumn colours that have encouraged me to go on!

Queens Park is just a block away from our home, and a place we walk in regularly. Our city is but 50,000 people, but this park rivals the botanic gardens of cities many times our size!

Carpet of Leaves, Queens Park

I could be locked down in far worse places.

The great news also is that our New Zealand government has wisely taken these steps very early in this pandemic, and we are making very good progress toward containing or even eliminating it in this country. And because of this, our lockdown should be much shorter than in many places, allowing us to begin the task of rebuilding our economy, making changes that I pray will lead to a lighter weight on the planet, and a much greater emphasis on shared prosperity rather than the accumulation of limitless individual wealth.

Autumn Gold

While Autumn reminds us of the winter ahead, it is also a golden season, rich in it’s own sights and smells, like the first home fires being lit.

Winter is yet ahead, but it will pass, bringing spring and the possibility of a truely new beginning for many.

Thanks for visiting. All images made with the Contax 139 Quartz, either Zeiss or Yashica lenses and Kodak Gold or Agfa Vista 200 film.

6 replies to “Autumn Leaves

  1. I don’t know if it’s the light, or the colors, or the film itself, but these pictures have a nostalgic quality. Autumn always makes me think about the past, rather than the future. Here in New England, the frenetic activity of spring is just beginning, creating a very different state of mind.

    Liked by 1 person

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