Fragments from the cosmic womb
This photograph captured my attention immediately. At first, I, possibly like you, recognised a baby fur seal apparently at rest in a rock cavity anchored within a breakwater of other, more rugged rocks; all held in place by a small manmade wall. That on one level is what the photograph shows us.
A number of seasoned photographers will remind us that great photographs are likely to transcend the mundane and offer us alternative possibilities.
It was the beautifully formed rock holding the seal which first took my attention; it being so very, very smooth, like a finely sculptured piece thrown amongst much rougher specimens, the rock stood out alone as remarkable. A perfectly formed chair-like profile appears to have been blasted out of this rock and the seal has folded itself into a blissful advantage of rest from the support it now offers. The quiet presence of the photographer is not noticed.
The rock, in particular, carries a diagonal scar to the right of its swollen surface, a caesarean-like mark; perhaps into the cosmic womb of creation, revealing like some museum collection of specimens, the benign creature of its making, carried to earth to begin its sojourn somewhere along the copious waterfront of Wellington.
The uppermost rocks resemble a darker, planetary avalanche and the sparkling stellar details of the pebbles pressed within the wall below work to contain the greater galactic nature of this photograph. Finally, the protection afforded the seal settled into the rock suggests to the observer of the ever present need all animals require of us – to love and above all, to protect.
Recent horrors of animal cruelty bought to our attention through the media form a constant reminder of the duty of protection we as humans must provide all animals, at all times. Man’s inhumanity to man is one thing, ever outrageous, but with many of us, man’s inhumanity to animals strikes a far deeper chord and cannot under any circumstance be tolerated.
Julian has printed this photograph with just the right amount of darkness and mystery, a technique he has well mastered, further cementing the birth/death overtones of this image, casting it high into the realm of yet another classic.