Created: 02-05-2004
Last update: 02-05-2004

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Slightly strange

These photographs are a mixed bunch, only having one quality in common: that of being slightly strange, whether through some mechanical mishap, or some detail I didn't spot until after the film was developed, or because the situation being photographed was itself out of the ordinary.

The strange thing about this photo is not that the people clearly in view have literally had their faces blacked; that is a matter of respecting their anonimity and was done before it occurred to me that using skin colour instead of black looks a bit less sinister. Two people feeding pigeons; this picure could have been taken in Amsterdam or on Trafalgar Square. Far back on the left, however, is what looks like a giant sprouting pineapple. I don't know what kind of tree it is; something, er, tropical? By the way, the photo was taken in El Aioun, Morocco.

There's nothing strange about the tropical foliage here, considering I'm standing in a greenhouse deliberately constructed to house such plants. The strange element is, again, to the left: a birdcage, probably empty. What on earth is a birdcage doing in the hothouse?

"What in earth is X doing in Y" is also the idea behind this tulip-growing hothouse. In the grimy little room where the workers have their coffee break: not a TV, but a home computer. Like the boss's mobile phone and other electronic appliances, it died of dust.

Speaking of dusty: the old, old computers used in a school in Diemen which experimented for a year with a great diversity of studies before settling down to teaching economy and nothing but that. Or maybe it's just their casing that makes them look ancient. This was when WordPerfect 4.2 (for MS-DOS) was the most widely used word processor, so they're probably 8086 machines. They may still be in use, or they may have been ripped out and donated to a museum.

From the binary to the sublunary; that white smudge over the weathervane is the moon. It was somewhere in the afternoon and, in bright daylight, the moon was shining.

Making a pic of a still life with jug, using the flashlight because the pic was taken indoors, I hadn't thought of the mirror. Now, it looks as if a ball of light is rising from the jug. A genie-in-a-jug effect, as it were.

More misapplied light: I tried to capture both the hanging lamp (yes, that tasseled tent thingie) and its reflection in the dark window, but chiefly captured my own flashlight. Then I accidentally opened the camera before the film was rewound, causing ugly exposure blotches. Now it looks as if the cat is in some kind of inferno.

These are not slightly strange, but strange. Misleadingly called "aura photographs", they are in fact a measurement of the electronic resistance in my hands translated into a pseudo-halo around my head. When the first pic was taken, I was tired and depressed, and it shows; for the second, I was wearing something that changed my body's electrical field and had also taken my coat off, which means that my body temperature had risen, and that shows, too. That's how easy it is to change your "aura". A joke being that the colours produced on the photograph are equated with a person's character, and red means energetic, forceful and aggressive. Yeah, right!

This was extremely strange, and I wouldn't mind such strange things happening more often. The father of an old friend of mine knew someone who had inherited an old Friesian mansion, "Dekema-state", and I was invited on holiday there. The family who owned the mansion didn't really have the money for its upkeep and stayed in a small house on the grounds. To enter the mansion required a key to the gate on the bridge that crossed the moat. Inside this mansion were stuffed birds, antique rifles, tiles and crockery from well before grandmother's time, and many other relics of the past; walking inside that house was like poking around in a Victorian attic. Those paintings in the living room are authentic; the owner simply sold one of them whenever he needed money. Of course, the National Trust has the house in its clutches now, so there's no hope of visiting it again.

Strange impulses: I'm useless in the kitchen. But for my eighteenth birthday, I decided to be creative and bake something representing the four seasons. There's a cocos-dusted Winter section with sheepies in warm woolly coats, a Spring section with a house (the house is marzipan, the roof banana chips) and a garden laid out with halved hazelnuts, a Summer section of marzipan horses in cheesecake pasture (sadly, the creatures would not remain upright) and and Autumn section with walnuts posing as withered brown tree foliage. Then came the next step: having to eat this stuff...

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