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On the shadows of camels, and the camels that throw them

[ by Charles Cameron — in lieu of a belated Sunday Surprise, and slightly more serious ]

Camels throw shadows — a fact brilliantly exploited by George Steinmetz in a rightly celebrated photo, to be found lower in this post — but first, a taste of Steinmetz’ methodology:


It is, I suppose, possible to argue that it is the shadows that throw the camels — but I suggest that only by way of saying that when I post here, fresh angles, not particular statements of opinion, are mostly what I am after.

Steinmetz’ photo illustrates my point nicely:


As you may know — and Snopes confirms — this image is an overhead view of shadows cast by camels in the desert. What’s not immediately obvious is that the black shapes are the shadows, while the camels themselves are the thin strips of white that accompany them.

As Steinmetz’ website explains:

His latest passion is photographing the world’s deserts while piloting a motorized paraglider. This experimental aircraft provides him with a unique physical perspective over remote places that are inaccessible by conventional aircraft.

The unexpected, perhaps even unique, perspective then is what I’m chasing — an “angle” that encourages a frehs view of the matter at hand.


It’s intriguing to note the consonance between Steinmetz’ comment:

I always want to go to the blank spots on a map, or go just a little bit farther. Reality is always more interesting than imagination.

and a comment I quoted with a quick tsk, tsk from David Hume thw other day:

It were better, therefore, never to look beyond the present material world.

I feel a DoubleQuote coming on..

2 Responses to “On the shadows of camels, and the camels that throw them”

  1. Cheryl Rofer Says:

    …and that would be?
    To look down into the drained pool.
    Dry the pool, dry concrete, brown edged,
    And the pool was filled with water out of sunlight,
    And the lotos rose, quietly, quietly,
    The surface glittered out of heart of light,
    And they were behind us, reflected in the pool.
    Then a cloud passed, and the pool was empty.
    Go, said the bird, for the leaves were full of children,
    Hidden excitedly, containing laughter.
    Go, go, go, said the bird: human kind
    Cannot bear very much reality.
    Time past and time future
    What might have been and what has been
    Point to one end, which is always present.
    So much in that quote…

  2. Charles Cameron Says:

    When I was a kid of 14 or so, I made friends with an old fellow whio lived in our village — Brightwell-cum-Sotwell — named Herbert Warner Allen.
    Eliot knew Warner Allen and published three of his books at Faber & Faber, one of them being
    The Timeless Moment
    , his book describing a mystical “opening” HWA experienced between two notes of Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony when he was almost fifty. Warner Allen brought the full weight of his classical scholarship to bear on the question of what exactly had happened, and his book is a remarkable account of unitive experience viewed through the eyes of Plotinus and Pascal among others.
    I remember Warner Allen showing me one of TSE’s books, very likely Four Quartets, insrcibed “from the srotapanna — Tom — to the arhat” — the two words being footnoted, if I recall, thus:
    srotapanna — he who has dipped one toe in the river of the waters of enlightenment
    arhat — he who has arrived at the other shore
    Quite a compliment, really.
    I have striven, as I recognized only decades later, to produce my own version of Warner Allen’s library ever since. He was one of my earliest mentors.

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