#1035. Koraborēshon

By Ian Varkevisser | Art & Creativity

Sep 03

In a recent blog John Wilson waxed lyrical about the gems in his backyard and posed the question about what goes on in your backyard. For me my backyard is a narrow valley on a peninsula at the tip of Africa sandwiched between the Atlantic and Indian oceans. Inevitably that means seascape sunrises and sunsets are easily accessible. My personal taste runs to long exposure somewhat saturated imagery with a little creative white balance sprinkled in for good measure.

The more experienced will be aware that it becomes a bit of a crapshoot when dealing with the weather gods and one is pretty pressed for time in that 10 minute slot when or even if the sky turns to just the right mood. There is a certain Zen like ambience combined with a water colour rendering to images shot under these conditions. Be that as it may I recently shot a series of tidal pool sunrises and sunsets in my proverbial backyard.

For the uninitiated the word koraborēshon is Japanese for collaboration.

Photography is often considered a solitary pursuit. The wonderful world of the interweb however can be the curse of friendships in that it enables you to keep in touch across the world. Having shot these images I decided to select 7 , one of each tidal pool and to the dismay of my good friend , fellow photographer and much accomplished blogger Lani Edwards, who now lives in another hemisphere half a world away, I blind sided her with the challenge to come up with a haiku for each image.

As a brief explanation a haiku is a Japanese form of poetry. There is a common structure that most haiku poems follow. It is the 5-7-5 structure, where: The entire poem consists of just three lines, with 17 syllables in total. The first line is 5 syllables, the second 7 syllables, and the third 5 syllables.

By now you probably see a bit of a Japanese theme developing and are thinking well you did the easy bit snapping a few shots and that’s a mean challenge. Well suffice to say we are not above throwing down challenges, honest constructive criticism and the occasional friendly insult at each other across the world wide web. To level the playing field I undertook to turn the collaboration into a slide show. Big deal you are probably thinking sarcastically but then what of the accompanying music ? Yours truly challenged himself, much to the amusement of his delightful collaborator to write a short piece of classical guitar music , based on the Japanese soft scale of music, and to play it himself. Whilst in a past lifetime I have been known to play a little classical guitar and on the very odd occasion have turned my hand to composition, I think you can clearly see it was not a clear cut cop out on my part.

It turned out to be a real fun exercise to break a normally solitary pursuit and engage in a collaborative effort to bring life to still images through word and music. The images and haikus follow below – with gratitude to the ever obliging Lani Edwards.

Quiet stillness rise
Profound breathing creates space

Lurching into space
Sheltered by wings of trust
Embracing both worlds

An impulsive step
Distress and alarm the cause
Wilts when balance found

Perpetual search
May lead to calmer water
Endure with restraint

Hurdles will arise
Embrace sensory conflict
Devoid of verdict

Potential demands
Robust mind distinct vision
Consider kindness

Curvaceous defence
Seemingly impermeable
Rivulets corrode

All images were shot using a Fuji X-T10 with 10 stop ND filter, Nikon mount Sigma 10-24 mm F/4 lens with manual adapter.

The final slide show may be viewed here.

Lani Edwards may be found here.


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  • John W says:

    I am speechless!!! It is very difficult to articulate with your chin on the floor.

    Namaste! I Bow to You Sir.

    Spectacularly Done!

    • Ian Varkevisser says:

      I wish i could take full credit for it. However one is thankful for the spectacular vistas in ones own backyard and eternally grateful to have a willing collaborator who is up for a challenge and who must take equal credit – the multi talented Mrs Lani Edwards

      • John W says:

        The images by themself were Spectacular!! Having hiaku to go with them was a stroke of genius. The music was like a sublime cup of cafe-au-lait on a chilly morning. The only thing missing was a shakuhachi (the warm croissant) to accompany the guitar … don’t imagine there are too many of those kicking around Cape Town.

        In 2012 I spent a month in Southern Africa. I got one day in Cape Town before hitting the road for Namaqualand. One day!!! I’ve been dying to go back for more time, but never have – 11,000 miles and 26hrs travel time. Still … who knows; maybe; just maybe. Reminds me a lot of Vancouver where I live, except you have both marine sunrises and sunsets to work with.

        I also had a look at Lani’s sight … Stunning!!!

        • Ian Varkevisser says:

          Hi John, thank you for the gracious and insightful comments , I think I may have to pass on the challenge of composing for the shakuhachi though. For the cafe-au-lait that will be 2/6p , and all tips gratefully accepted and will be put to good use in furthering the arts. I cannot guarantee however that it will not be spent on inspirational lubrication by either or both of us 🙂

  • Lani says:

    It was a gigantic honour to work with you on this project, Ian!
    You inspire and challenge me and for that I’m incredibly thankful.

    The images of your tidal pools stimulates the creative juices and I look forward to immerse myself in more of your magical ‘backyard’ photographs.

    Pascal’s words, describing your post of being a “Multisensory Sandwich”, is perfectly precise.

    Santé to more successful collaborations in the future!

    • Ian Varkevisser says:

      Lani , If i may add inspiration is a two way street, and may I raise your sante with a gesondheid to more. As always it was a pleasure to work with you on this one. Your strict and high editorial standards may be a pain in the derrière at times butt your forthright critique is valued. 🙂

  • Ian, your tide pool images are lovely and serene with a color palette to drool over! Even though they were taken in SA, there’s a very Japanese vibe going on. The accompanying haiku just adds to the peace & beauty. Kudos to you and Lani for giving us a fabulous collaborative effort! Arigato gozaimasu!

    • Ian Varkevisser says:

      Hi Nancee, I sense a kindred spirit in you when it comes to the saturation stakes. It remains a bone of contention with some , better not say that to loudly though. dou itashimasite.

  • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

    Taking art in photography to a whole new level. Injecting it with a shot of poetry and an ancient civilisation, to raise the bar higher.

    Something of a challenge, now, to everyone else. No you can’t “imitate” – while imitation is supposedly the sincerest form of flattery, you have to come up with your own ideas. LOL

    • Ian Varkevisser says:

      Hi JP, This being a collaborative blog site I surmised a blog post around the subject of koraboreshon may be rather appropriate. The intent was not throw down the challenge to others to follow suit , but if it does inspire others here to indulge in collaborative efforts that will be a pleasing outcome. I for one will be the first to applaud and enthusiastically look forward to seeing the results.

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