Daryl Floyd Photography: Blog http://darylfloydphotography.com/blog en-us (C) Daryl Floyd (Daryl Floyd Photography) Mon, 14 Aug 2017 14:02:00 GMT Mon, 14 Aug 2017 14:02:00 GMT http://darylfloydphotography.com/img/s/v-5/u189163130-o271954937-50.jpg Daryl Floyd Photography: Blog http://darylfloydphotography.com/blog 120 80 La Coste - Art and architecture… and the landscape http://darylfloydphotography.com/blog/2017/8/la-coste---art-and-architecture-and-the-landscape Tom Shannon - Drop

Tom Shannon - Drop


Compared with the simplicity of "le Cabanon", the collection of contemporary art at La Coste appears altogether extravagant. Artists and designers as varied and internationally reputed as Sean Scully, Andy Goldsworthy, Tadao Ando, Alexander Calder, Louise Bourgeois, Ai WeiWei to mention but a few, are all represented.


And yet each creation shares some fundamental quality with the modest staging of that terracotta pot. The relation between object and setting. Seemingly basic geometric forms that frame or echo some element of the surrounding landscape. Heightened here in black and white.


This view of Tom Shannon’s “Drop” hangs on my wall. The sleek surface of the sculpture contrasts with the richly textured foliage and the reflexions are mirrored by the play of dappled light in the foreground. But most of all, it is the perfect form of the drop echoed by the arch of the oak branches overhead that ties the composition together, the sculpture revealing the inherent qualities of the landscape.


Tadao Ando - Pavillon “Four cubes to contemplate our environment”

Tadao Ando - Pavillon “Four cubes to contemplate our environment” 


Guggi - Calix meus inebrians

Guggi - Calix meus inebrians


Ai Weiwei - Ruyi Path

Ai Weiwei  - Ruyi Path


Lee Ufan - House of Air

Lee Ufan - House of Air 


Tadao Ando - La Chapelle

Tadao Ando - La Chapelle 


Tadao Ando - Pavillon “Four cubes to contemplate our environment”

Tadao Ando - Pavillon “Four cubes to contemplate our environment”


For more images of La Coste see the full gallery here.

(Daryl Floyd Photography) architecture art la coste landart landscape provence http://darylfloydphotography.com/blog/2017/8/la-coste---art-and-architecture-and-the-landscape Mon, 14 Aug 2017 13:56:35 GMT
Le Cabanon http://darylfloydphotography.com/blog/2017/7/le-cabanon . A garden need not be complicated. Sometimes the ones that have the strongest effect are those that take advantage of the natural landscape with the lightest of gestures.

Here a friend’s garden consists of a terracotta pot, placed on a plain concrete terrace, under an evergreen oak from which hangs a bamboo wind chime. This simple composition transforms the foreground into a minimalist tableau, creating a link between the house and the mountain landscape.

(Daryl Floyd Photography) gardens landscape montagne sainte-victoire http://darylfloydphotography.com/blog/2017/7/le-cabanon Fri, 14 Jul 2017 15:17:30 GMT
The garden in motion http://darylfloydphotography.com/blog/2017/6/the-garden-in-motion This is the term used by designer Gilles Clément to explain part of his approach. It involves putting in place natural processes that are allowed to develop and determine the evolution of the landscape. Gardening in this context is a question of interpreting this evolutionary process and requires the gardener to “observe more and garden less”. It contrasts with the French tradition of imposing man’s will on nature in the rigorous and geometric fashion of Versailles or Vaux-le- Vicomte.

It is the philosophy applied to the botanical gardens of the Domaine du Rayol, which represent the Mediterranean climates of the world. And there is something wild and pleasantly unpolished about the place as one wanders through the vegetation of South Africa, New Zealand, California and subtropical Asia. This impression is heightened by the proximity of the sea, the Mediterranean itself playing an important part in the experience of the gardens, a borrowed landscape whose changing nature influences the character of the place.

The notion of change and evolution is reflected in the history of the site itself, chosen at the beginning of the twentieth century as the retirement destination for wealthy Parisian businessman, Alfred Théodore Courmes, at a time when France’s wealthiest families were establishing their holiday homes along the coast. By the 1960’s the domain had been abandoned, later to be bought by the Conservatoire du Littoral and transformed into the present-day botanical gardens. The presence of the original villas lends the domain a certain turn of the century charm and, like the garden, seems to recall all that is ephemeral and fugitive.

(Daryl Floyd Photography) Domaine du Rayol Gardens Gilles Clément Mediterranean http://darylfloydphotography.com/blog/2017/6/the-garden-in-motion Fri, 02 Jun 2017 17:32:54 GMT
Les calanques de Mugel et de Figuerolles http://darylfloydphotography.com/blog/2017/6/les-calanques-de-mugel-et-de-figuerolles Looking across the port of la Ciotat, the towering cranes of the shipyard cast their square-shaped silhouettes against the Bec de l’Aigle. The Eagle’s Beak, the ever-present backdrop to the city skyline. Its massive form, round and bulky seen from the old town is a jutting, dynamic point that gives the formation its name when seen from the cliffs to the West.

Continue past the shipyard behind its derelict warehouses and through the old neighbourhood of eclectic villas. The sea is close but out of sight. Through a narrow unassuming alley or down a cul de sac to the calanques of Mugel and Figuerolles.

The latter is particularly hidden from view. First-time visitors stop to interpret the road signs. Take one direction, reverse and take another. Ask for directions from a rare passer-by, towel in hand. Wonder if the calanque is within walking distance of that parking space.

No exception to the rule, we followed the same routine one bright and windy day in early May. We finally parked and made our way through the sleepy streets to the path that leads down to the small, pebble beach via a hundred sloped steps.

Round the first bend and suddenly the view opens up and the “calanque de Figuerolles” appears. Just below is a café and a restaurant, terraces full and humming with lively chatter. The path continues past the restaurant through the leafy arch of a fig tree.

Beach goers are stretched out on the narrow strand, tanning in the spring sunshine or enjoying the shade of a fig tree or a pine. A small stream is lined with reeds and irises. A dragonfly flits in and out of view.

On both sides, the calanque is framed by steep banks of rock made up of tortured and fantastical forms. Each seems to have a name, the rock of the Lion, the Eagle’s Beak… All carved out of a brown conglomerate substrate, pebbles of a prehistoric river bound together by a natural concrete-like sediment. Puddingstone (the French term is simply “poudingue”) because it looks like… pudding. A pudding that an unimpressed child has taken to sculpting into mythological creatures perhaps.

(Daryl Floyd Photography) Calanque de Figuerolles Calanque de Mugel La Ciotat Long exposure Mediterranean landscape nature sea seascape http://darylfloydphotography.com/blog/2017/6/les-calanques-de-mugel-et-de-figuerolles Thu, 01 Jun 2017 17:53:26 GMT
The Caramy Gorges 2 http://darylfloydphotography.com/blog/2017/4/the-caramy-gorges-2 For the eye that is attentive to the attributes of the natural world, the environment of a river is a visual feast. I love the colour and the plays of light in the Caramy gorges. In black and white, different qualities of contrast, texture and form come to the fore.

(Daryl Floyd Photography) http://darylfloydphotography.com/blog/2017/4/the-caramy-gorges-2 Sun, 23 Apr 2017 14:50:55 GMT
The Caramy Gorges http://darylfloydphotography.com/blog/2017/4/the-caramy-gorges When I first arrived in Provence I asked “where is the countryside?” The garrigue can be a harsh, inhospitable environment, dry and mineral. Only with time and the experience of the seasons have I come to appreciate its hidden and delicate beauty. The spring storms, spectacular in themselves, bring the rain that causes an incredible floral diversity to burst into life.

In much of the Mediterranean region of France, the natural vegetation is low growing, dense and prickly. During the summer months, the shade of tall trees and the cool proximity of water offer welcome respite from the aggressive heat of the sun.

Coming from Ireland to Provence, one of the things that I really missed was water in the landscape. I desperately wanted to find a place where one could walk alongside a river in cool green shade, admire the changing reflections and the play of light on the water’s surface. I finally discovered what I was looking for in the Caramy gorges, at the foot of the Sainte-Baume mountain range.

For more like this look here 

(Daryl Floyd Photography) Caramy gorges Provence nature river spring water http://darylfloydphotography.com/blog/2017/4/the-caramy-gorges Mon, 17 Apr 2017 11:51:29 GMT
Still life with Pears http://darylfloydphotography.com/blog/2017/3/still-life-with-pears One of my all-time favourite photographs is “Ripening pears” by Sam Abell. He describes it in his book Seeing Gardens: “Some of the gardens that mean the most are impromptu arrangements, like this still life of pears on a windowsill in Moscow. This garden came into being casually, existed for a day of two, and vanished – in this case it was eaten. But while it lasted it was consoling.”

These pears were part of an impromptu arrangement for which my wife must take the credit. I liked the way she balanced the fragile lightness of the mimosa with the rounded weightiness of the pears. Which resembled little bronze sculptures, delicately and affectionately posed against one another.

As with Sam Abell’s windowsill garden, the composition was ephemeral. I only had a short moment to photograph it in the soft morning light before leaving for work.

(Daryl Floyd Photography) http://darylfloydphotography.com/blog/2017/3/still-life-with-pears Tue, 28 Mar 2017 20:34:11 GMT
As the Crow Flies http://darylfloydphotography.com/blog/2017/3/as-the-crow-flies There is an old quarry of Breccia stone on the southern face of the Sainte-Victoire. The marbled surface of the conglomerate material was previously used to adorn mantelpieces and the floors of Aixois homes.

There is a spot where crows nest in a cavity of the rock face. They generally get on with their crow activity, with much toing and froing and cawing and hunched hopping. On an early spring afternoon, one couple sat on a branch for an age in what seemed like patient contemplation. Do crows too have their poet philosophers?

(Daryl Floyd Photography) http://darylfloydphotography.com/blog/2017/3/as-the-crow-flies Sun, 12 Mar 2017 13:30:43 GMT
Les Pierres Civières http://darylfloydphotography.com/blog/2017/2/les-pierres-civi-res Les Pierres Civières or from stone walls (imagined or fantasised) to imaginary megaliths (lighter and more fanciful) 

I came across “les pierres civières” in the Creuse, in the most central (and yet most isolated!) part of France, by chance. The site, marked on the map with an orientation table, aroused my curiosity enough to make a fifteen-minute detour.

So I arrived without expectation, through the dense forestry plantations, deep and dark but not quite lovely, to the clearing on the side of a hill where these great granite boulders form a jumbled mass of stone. And where a certain order and elegance emerges from the mineral confusion. Just enough to make you half wonder, without knowing better, did man have a hand in this?

But no, the “Civières” rocks are an entirely natural geological formation. The hillside used to be covered by similar blockfields, what the French call a “chaos” of boulders. But exploited by quarries, only the Civières rocks, now a protected site, remain. This and the setting within a clearing surrounded by the forest contribute to the sense of a place that has been chosen. A place where matter makes tangible the heft of history. Great boulders heaved by unknown ancestors or heroes of mythology. Just a whimsy notion. But then, the visceral human connection to rock is perhaps all the stepping stone imagination needs to take a flight of fancy.

(Daryl Floyd Photography) http://darylfloydphotography.com/blog/2017/2/les-pierres-civi-res Mon, 20 Feb 2017 20:40:45 GMT
Something there is that doesn't love a wall http://darylfloydphotography.com/blog/2017/1/something-there-is-that-doesnt-love-a-wall Mending Wall

Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun;
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs.  The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
'Stay where you are until our backs are turned!'
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of outdoor game,
One on a side.  It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, 'Good fences make good neighbors.'
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
'Why do they make good neighbors?  Isn't it
Where there are cows?  But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offense.
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That wants it down.'  I could say 'Elves' to him,
But it's not elves exactly, and I'd rather
He said it for himself.  I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me,
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father's saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, 'Good fences make good neighbors.'


(Daryl Floyd Photography) http://darylfloydphotography.com/blog/2017/1/something-there-is-that-doesnt-love-a-wall Mon, 30 Jan 2017 21:51:57 GMT
Calanque de Méjean http://darylfloydphotography.com/blog/2016/12/calanque-de-m-jean Less well known than the “calanques” to the east of Marseille, with their towering limestone cliffs and turquoise waters, is the stretch of coast to the west, “la côte bleue”. The rocky hills drop into the sea, a series of little fishing ports tucked into the coves which rhythm the nervous line of the coast. The calanque de Méjean is one such port, set against the impressive arches of the railway viaduct. It may be called the blue coast but the colours are warm. The limestone of Provence is punctuated by pockets of sandstone which glow in ochre tones in the afternoon light.

We were there yesterday, enjoying the mildness of the provençal winter. As were other families, walking along the trail overlooking the coast. One father with his two children patiently tending to their fishing rods. Others, more direct and equipped with swim suits, spent their afternoon in the water. One solitary boat was stationed in the cove. 

See here for more of la côte bleue! 


(Daryl Floyd Photography) http://darylfloydphotography.com/blog/2016/12/calanque-de-m-jean Thu, 29 Dec 2016 19:58:24 GMT
Snow! http://darylfloydphotography.com/blog/2016/12/snow First sight of snow. Ecrins National Park. Winter 2016

(Daryl Floyd Photography) http://darylfloydphotography.com/blog/2016/12/snow Tue, 20 Dec 2016 18:51:47 GMT
Frosted confections http://darylfloydphotography.com/blog/2016/12/frosted-confections As we approach the shortest day of the year before they begin to lengthen again, there is a chill in the morning air. It was about 11 o'clock a few days ago and the frost was still clinging to the vegetation in one shady corner of the garden. It lined the edges of the ivy, highlighting its graphic forms, and lay in a light dusting on quince leaves. Like icing on festive confectionery.  

For similar images, have a look at the plant textures and forms gallery 

(Daryl Floyd Photography) http://darylfloydphotography.com/blog/2016/12/frosted-confections Sat, 10 Dec 2016 15:05:57 GMT
Coming soon... http://darylfloydphotography.com/blog/2016/11/coming-soon

(Daryl Floyd Photography) http://darylfloydphotography.com/blog/2016/11/coming-soon Sun, 27 Nov 2016 13:11:41 GMT