Friday, September 30, 2011

Passive Waters?

There are many such shots and quite often they win competitions. I don't know why, because there is no mystery to them. I did change the sky and with a background of trees that's quite some work. I like it though, because it gives the picture a "pop-up" look and, in consequence, the whole image starts to look artificial. I called it passive water because canal water does not flow "naturally". It is compelled to go where the human-made channel determines. And even at locks where the water can be at its most active, it is nonetheless persuaded to accommodate the demands of the canal. Like the sea, psychoanalysts don't have much time for canals. Whilst they prefer inland water, canals can't go where they want. They may not babble round stones and carve a meander from a field. For the most part, canals are waters which take a set course for movement of cargo. So they are very predictable and denote peace and order. That doesn't mean canals are totally safe. In 1792, 150 Athy-bound passengers forced their way onto a Grand Canal barge, many of them drunk. In spite of the Captain's warning, the barge capsized near the eighth lock, with the loss of five men, four women and two children. At Portobello Bridge in 1861, a horse from a horse-drawn bus reared, causing the other horses to back the bus through the rails of the bridge. All the horses and six passengers died. That's part of the ambivalence of symbols - passive or not, water can be either life or death.