Friday, May 14, 2010

Week 10: Constructed/Natural

Constructed (left: Sarah)

When I think construction I see 'manmade' and when I think manmade vs. natural, I seem to recall a conversation I had with my father many moons ago. I know, I sound ancient. I digress...

The gist of the conversation was something like this. What makes an apartment building, block of houses or a grocery store any less natural than a bird's nest, or beaver's dam or a hole for squirrely's nuts? We humans are animals too after all, building shelters, storing up food for the winter and feeding our young. Sure we have better technology, and more complex brains, but we are still animals.

We are a part of nature, using materials and principles derived from nature to build and expand.

And, as I type this, I question ever having had this convo, or if I just somehow dreamed it up. (Dad, care to confirm?)

What's your take, what do you consider to be natural, or constructed, or are they one and the same?

Natural (right: Mary)

When I hear the word ‘natural’, I think of beauty, or at least my idea of it. I think of a genuine smile, dense forests, billowing clouds tumbling over mountains, kindness and creatures big and small.

I think of this planet on which all of the above can be found. From Mother Nature to human nature, and the ways they interact, I am humbled and awestruck when I take the time to see.

What have you seen lately?


luna pie May 14, 2010 at 9:59 AM  

Wowee Mar, I think this is one of my favourite pairings so far. Thanks as always for doing the technical work :)
What have I seen lately? The fact that it is taking me a long time to answer that question makes me think I should open my eyes a little more...

Beautiful bokeh in your shot ~ I love the gasp of purple in the upper corner.

L O V E L Y!

Charlene May 14, 2010 at 2:18 PM  

Well I'm not too sure how to answer your question.
Sarah I'd never thought of your concept yet it makes perfect sense when one stops to ponder it.

I think of Natural as:
a young girl's face sans makeup
birds soaring on a gentle breeze
a baby crawling naked
animals, flowers, trees..........

Yet when I stop and think....aren't
buildings that blend in with their surroundings natural??....For example a log cabin in a forested area or a garden bench among the flowers or by a pond.

Mary you asked what have you seen??
All of God's creation robins nesting, trees blossoming, scampering squirrels, the movie "Oceans" butterflies, sunrise/sets

Anonymous May 14, 2010 at 6:34 PM  

Among Spring and it's usual happenings, I've just witnessed two women changing MY perspective! =)

Anvilcloud May 15, 2010 at 10:33 AM  

I've heard dear, old Dad pontificate that thought, so I think your memory is correct (although he will probably have forgotten). I partly agree but would say that with our knowledge, we now have the ability to use our natures to work against nature in general.

I think you guys have left and right mixed up. It's probably an oriental thing. :)

Mary May 16, 2010 at 2:16 AM  


I agree. I really love these two pictures beside one another. Lovely.

I also agree that we, as people, and our 'constructions' are a part of nature.

However, I think that there are too many examples of people taking it too much construction, too much destruction, ...

So much to ponder...

Love ya, sis.

Blaze May 16, 2010 at 8:12 AM  

Might be my fav so far too.

You guys are brilliant!

turtlestack May 16, 2010 at 2:46 PM  

Bug season at the farm is not the best time to be commenting on the natural. A can of bug spray is an amazing construction in my opinion.

Joanne May 17, 2010 at 5:21 AM  

Beautiful and thought provoking photos as always. Just fabulous, well done!

Dogman May 17, 2010 at 4:12 PM  

Oh ya, Sarah, your memory is correct. I know I've blathered on about this more than once, as in (ready for this?).. We humans are natural, and what we do (build civilizations, e.g.) is natural. It is natural to us, and natural to the big scheme of things. There is a problem. Obviously. Turns out that it is not what we do or even how we do it, but the sheer number of us doing it that is the problem, etc., etc., and blah blah blah... The good thing is that we are at the peak of the hill. We're the brightest and deadliest species on the planet, and have the potential to deal with the problems we've generated purely as a by-product of our success on so many levels. I believe we're smart enough to deal with this. That doesn't make us trans-natural, super-natural or meta-natural; it's just us behaving as it is our nature to behave (problem-solving, problem-creating, etc.). Of course individual and collective stupidity is also part of our nature. I choose to believe that invention and rationality will win the day. If I'm wrong, here's the much much longer view.. The problem (overpopulation) is ultimately self correcting. When the planet is whelmed to the limit there will be a big dieback (and our period will become one of the major extinction events in the earth's geological history). Life and evolution will go on for some billions of years hence...

Dogman May 17, 2010 at 4:56 PM  

So here's a little more, now that I've started... All species, without exception, are opportunistic. Populations of species rise and fall as conditions for their survival wax and wane. Think about the deer to wolf ratio. When the deer populations are high, lots of wolves are born and survive because there's plenty of meat. Eventually though, the wolves are too successful. The population has grown to the point where the number of deer cannot sustain it. And it's getting worse, because the sheer number of hunting wolves has precipitated a sharp decline in the population of deer. The wolf population dies back due to scarcity of prey. The deer population begins to recover. The wolf population follows and the cycle repeats. Most population problems in the natural world are cyclically self-correting. Why do I say "most?" Because we humans seem to be the exception. I raise the question: Have we become so successful that we no longer have any natural enemies/predators? (Is this why we fight wars? Because we have no enemies worthy of us but ourselves?)


Dogman May 17, 2010 at 5:06 PM  

One more thing. (And oh, I love your pics, by the way). Wherever I am, I am surrounded by nature. If not trees and meadows and mountains, then streets and towers and traffic. (Per the philosophy that human beings and human deeds are intrinsically natural). But there is something in my nature, nonetheless, that pines for the woods and for solitude where I am less exposed to the crush of human nature.

luna pie May 17, 2010 at 9:21 PM  

Haha, Oh Dad! This is why I love you (well, one of the many many reasons). You often get the wheels of my lil' ol' brain turning.

Mary May 19, 2010 at 12:48 AM  

Loved reading that, Brian. I can't wait to see and hear you in person.

I guess the only thing that could ( and does) take people out besides each other is Mother Nature.

Can't wait to see you.

And, thanks for the comments...all of them!

Meagan May 19, 2010 at 7:59 AM  

My first instinct when I hear the word 'constructed' is certainly manmade objects. And similarly the first thought that comes to my head when I hear 'natural' is nature, naturally! However I've actually thought about this a lot in the last 7-8 years of my life while studying and working in Landscape Architecture, and my first instinct hasn't been maintained. The thing is that many 'natural environments' are in fact designed, constructed, and maintained by humans, so there is a perfect example of how the two concepts merge completely.
Also with regards to landscape architecture, there is a concept referred to as "biomimicry" in which we use the environment, its natural processes, growth, death, and rebirth, as a model for our designs. So the constructed is inspired by the natural, and the natural is often constructed. That's my summarized take on the matter :o)

Firstly, I want some love from your direction asap!!!
Secondly, to answer your question:
I see a very natural thing before me this very moment, and that is the very beautiful and natural talent both you remarkable women have for photography and writing alike.
When I hear 'natural' I definitely think of beauty, and this project certainly falls into that description.

Love love love, and miss you deeply

About the Project

As a way to stay connected through our travels and beyond, A Perspective Project was initiated by the desire to master our cameras, and to be creative and more observant of the world around us.


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