i just went back to sydney for the weekend. consequently i am rather homesick this week.
as such i went through some film shots that i took there on a visit last year.
this post and its title is was inspired by today’s shutter sisters’ post signs of hope. the gorgeous photo of magnolia buds reminded me firstly of a polaroid i took of magnolia buds on gertrude street in fitzroy last spring.
quickly a few connections occured in my brain – i’d also taken pola shots of the plum blossoms in both fitzroy & preston. plum trees abound around the streets where i live in preston. i have several in my front and back garden and am so excited when they start to flower. this is because they look & smell gorgeous and i love to photograph them but also, come november, we’ll have a glut of plums, enough for us to make jars and jars of jam, as well as keeping all the birds that flock to our yard very happy.
more soberly however, they made me think of japan, where the plum (ume) blossom is one of the first signs of spring. the japanese apricot/chinese plum/prunus mume is a species of plum and one of the first trees to flower in the spring.
they have deep importance in japanese culture and are found in parks, gardens and shrines throughout the country. a number of ume matsuri are held in japan at this time of year, including at the yushima tenjin shrine in tokyo and kairakuen garden in the city of mito in ibaraki prefecture, close to the pacific coast where the tsunami hit on friday.
in the disaster that has hit the country, perhaps the ume blossoms will be some small sign of hope for them.
i have journeyed halfway around the globe; but nothing i have met in all my wanderings has sufficed to damp the pleasure with which i enter this gay, bright, noisy, restless city – this city of the living, as beyond all others it may be justly called
fanny trollope, paris & the parisians, 1835
sometimes i think the images that best express the existence of people in the urban environment are those in which they are not present. images of the built environment & other objects produced by human society speak of people so strongly, that their very absence in such a scene intensifies their presence.