Thursday’s Special: Organized Noise


This week Paula’s guest at Lost in Translation is Tobias  M. Schiel. He has set us a challenging challenge entitled Organized Noise. I think I have the gist of it – and this is my take on what he says (so if I’ve got it all upside down and backwards, Tobias, please tell me) – that you can use the camera’s eye to frame everyday  ‘stuff’ and ‘clutter’ that of themselves do not have aesthetic appeal. In other words, the photograph itself endows the scene with creative interest and possibility through framing, focus and cropping. It thus exposes something intrinsically or extrinsically fascinating in a context that we might otherwise screen out as uninteresting or unworthy of particular notice. As Tobias says, this is more likely to work in the abstract.

So I’m  not sure that this photo of a stricken pine on Cornwall’s Seaton beach quite fits the bill. But I’m posting it because the scene as a whole caught my attention. The tree had been blown off the cliff.  The way it was lying suggested to me a crash-landed dragon, the peeled trunk in the foreground its snout and eye.  But with a more abstract eye, the main thing that struck me about this pile of beach debris was the vivid range of colours – materials natural and unnatural.

Maybe this next shot is a better example? – a close up of some of Seaton’s amazing geology:


In his explanation, Tobias says that this approach is used in musical composition, but as a writer I can see that this photographic version is also a visual analog for what the best creative writing does: that is, it takes a scene, or a detail of it, something that others might miss altogether were it not for the affecting way in which the writer chooses to delineate it, often mixing heightened reality with metaphorical abstraction.

Thanks to Paula and Tobias for hosting this fascinating challenge.

copyright 2016 Tish Farrell

40 thoughts on “Thursday’s Special: Organized Noise

  1. Tobias is going to love this! And I love it too. I am always surprised how you manage to nail the challenge every single time 🙂 I also agree that the second photo may be the better example. I thought of you yesterday when I had a chat at work with some stubborn and I dare say uneducated person. I showed her some photos of earth pyramids (pinnacles) like on this link However hard to try to explain that this is a result of erosion, she insisted that the little caps on top are man-made and she never saw one in person, and I did visit several such sites. What do you think, Tish? How do I explain to people like that? Maybe I should not bother at all. It just crossed my mind that somebody like you could have offered a better explanation 🙂 Thank you for joining the challenge. I have had (and am still having) a hell of the month, but am very determined to change my path tomorrow when I am leaving for a weekend. I have left a post for Saturday. I hope that February will offer me some peace…

    1. I am so wishing you all the wellness you need for that fresh path, Paula. More power to your determination 🙂 As to people who refuse to listen, or see, or understand even when things are carefully explained – well, although it goes against my grain to say or believe this – you are better not bothering with them full stop.

  2. Paula is, right – I do love this post, starting with the tree, then your thoughts, and – to top it all off – that fabulous second picture. It’s all proof that these challenges are not so much about ‘answering correctly’ but also about what they inspire you to create. And your pictures are wonderful!
    Interesting that you would mention your experience as a writer – I am just preparing a post on that subject as an afterthought to this challenge. One of my favourite writers (Alfred Döblin) once described himself as the person sitting in front of that massive pile of historic material, trying to fit it all into his Wallenstein novel. It is all about choice and composition, isn’t it?
    Thanks for sharing these photos, Tish!

  3. Glad I gave you a nudge this morning. This is super stuff, Tish 🙂 Personally I love the crashed dragon, but I can see that the geology shot is more fitting.

  4. I haven’t read the challenge yet so I can’t comment on that but your photos are very interesting. I particularly like the contrast of the red sea weed against the textured old tree and the smooth rocks.
    The sculptural roots in the first photo against the rocky ground are very appealing visually. I’ll have to go and read the challenge now – it sounds intriguing.

  5. Yes, the second photo of course reminds one of an exposed wound, really draws you in, remarkable. I like the notion of using one’s imagination, one’s unique POV on the world to ‘see’ and share in the abstract, in the universal…I have a dear friend who’s a musician and environmental sound artist, and it’s inspiring going to the beach with him on the Washington coast, a graveyard of fallen limbs, stones, micro-life, and making sculptures out of it, finding implied rooms…it stimulates the imagination, the creative process, feels good to be alive like that. Here’s to that, this Friday. Enjoy your time Tish. Bill

    1. You did a post about that beach creating didn’t you. It was fascinating. Hope you are getting some work done – now and then. Hard when you’re on the move – even when you’re not actually moving. Hope Bath has been providing a bit of a break. Happy weekend all of you.

      1. Thanks Tish! Yes, work done: 28 days in a row now, 8500 words so far this week, should hit 10K and be able to take Sunday off! Bath is good, restorative. Will be sad to leave, but happy to return to Deutschland. Cheers to you and G!

      2. Do I get extra credit for doing it by hand? Ok enough self promo here, back to our tea, our regularly scheduled programme.

      3. My laptop has taken to randomly eating my sentences when I’m not looking – so ‘by hand’ is definitely good in my book – so to speak. Philip Pulman went to classes to learn to write properly with a fountain pen, and then wrote a page and half of foolscap every day. There’s a lot to be said for relective space between pen and brain.

      4. My hand forces my brain to slow down, as I gulp coffee to get it to turn on, and attain balance between the two for maybe eight minutes of brilliance which ain’t much, but more than many. Try giving your laptop leafy vegetables, could help with the cravings for carbs.

  6. interpretation is the key to a creative mind Tish and that is definitely you – imagine a dragon crash-landing! intriguing shots to go with your words too

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.