MAPPING A CONCEPT: Weekly Photo Challenge: Concept

Jake’s Weekly Photo Challenge topic is “Concept”.  I like maps as maps and I like maps as concepts – above, a plant found on Florida’s West coast sits on a map of the region, the plant’s tangled arcs echoing the curves of road and shoreline.

My scribbled map of local wanderings in the “wilds” of Staten Island, a forgotten borough of New York City that, if you explore its fringes, can reveal old pot shards at the water’s edge and fields of yellow sweet clover.

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Photoshopping a picture of tropical leaves from a greenhouse produces a map-like array of lines and shapes – countries, rivers, boundaries and highways.

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The broken glass at an abandoned greenhouse in Yonkers, New York reminds me of a map too. The fragments could be islands separated by canals.

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Twigs reach into space like roads reach across a territory; their buds are the exits where something new awaits.

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The Boardman Bombing Range in Oregon: No Public Access – says the map.

The Columbia River passing through Longview, and on down into the uncharted parts of a well eaten magnolia leaf.

Today I was planning to post some photographic studies I did earlier this week of  “skeletonized” leaves (their essence pared down to vein structure) and a map of Washington. The leaf  veins are a kind of map themselves, and when they are superimposed over the routes of the map a confusion of lines and scale erupts: the vast spaces represented by the map mix it up with the tiny interstices of leaf veins.  I must have intuited that Jake was going to challenge us to photograph a concept this week. Maps exist as objects but they’re deeply imprinted as concepts in our minds, too. There’s something deeply satisfying about the way maps  reflect our internal sense of order and our external knowledge of the land.

Maps fire the imagination. I like to pour over them at home, make a plan, follow it for awhile, then jettison the map and veer off into the unknown.

And I love GPS, especially when I drive onto a ferry and the screen puts the little car in the middle of the vast blue water.  There’s nothing so pleasurable as turning off the GPS once you’ve reached new territory and exploring until you’re hungry, knowing you can turn it back on again and find your way “Home” anytime.

“A map is by nature interdisciplinary.”  P.C. Meuhrcke

MAP QUOTES:   http://www.stanfords.co.uk/blog/post/Maps-in-literature.aspx

MORE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGES INTERPRETING “CONCEPT”:

http://jakesprinters.wordpress.com/2012/12/08/sunday-post-concept/


12 comments

    • Thank you very much – I’ve always loved maps – so of course there are maps around the house – and one day the sun was shining right on that leaf, which I had placed in front of the map along with some other things. The sun moved quickly so I didn’t get too many shots, so I’m waiting… (not a lot of sun here in the pacific northwest in winter!).


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