Marja-Leena Rathje
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power lines



I am going through my 2011 iPhoto library, trying to reduce the numbers of photos from the almost 1800. These two almost got trashed until I began to play with them a bit and turned them into black and white. As I recall, the sky was what attracted me, and I do love that in the first photo. The strong vertical and horizontal lines and patterns of the transmission towers pulled me into the second shot. Not my usual subject matter...

Marja-Leena | 08/01/2012 | 12 comments
themes: Photoworks, Urban


Ah, the power of black 'n white! Now you've got me thinking of that brilliant film "Young Frankenstein" ...

Not your subject matter? Oh, I don't know! Contemporary monoliths? And those shapes... all those fitted triangles... Gigantic pictographs against the sky? Simplified striders?

Did you happen to hear of our St. Stephen's Day storms? It cut out the elecricity from tens of thousands of people and for as long as more than a week? And yet another strong storm followed with same result, and the companies have of course laid off the workers long time ago.

That such storms or maintenance is not any more needed? Ordinary people's electric bills just tend to go up. Nobody knows what to think about it. There are NO robot's that could do people's work, not that. Cutting trees that grow too near of big powerlines?

Rouchswalwe, old black and white films came to my mind too as I studied these images.... though nothing Frankenstein-y.

Marly, you know me well, maybe even better than I do :-) Have you thought of a change or addition in career, as a psychoanalyst for artists?

Ripsa, yes, I've been following the news in Finland regarding your storms - how terrible. Such a shock after not even having a proper white Christmas. Were you personally affected?

That reminded me of some storms we had a few years ago - heavy wet snowfalls and windstorms knocking down our very tall trees over powerlines in the city and along highways. One even came down two doors over from us. I think I even complained in a blog post that we should have underground wiring in residential areas - new areas often do but older ones like ours don't. As for the massive transmission lines through the forests, they are usually kept clearcut, so it's not a major issue as far as I know.

I have often thought that something might be done with wires and electric towers. You have done it beautifully.

Anne, thanks very much!

I'm not generally fond of the look of power lines either but these photographs in b&w do a wonderful job of fracturing the sky. They could be viewed as metaphors of human overreach vs. nature's raw power.

Susan, I'm pleased you can see some beauty, and such good metaphors. I do find these sights a bit frightening sometimes - we are so dependent on that electricity but what happens when there is no more? Sort of 'Frankenstein-y' after all!


no I wasn't affected: I live in the middle of city and all powerlines here are underground.

Other than that I absolutely agree what Susan said. And your conclusion was inevitable. As you might guess, people are talking a lot of these power companies without apparently hardly no duties.

Pylons are always photogenic. I have often thought but never got round to making an international comparison of pylon styles. Those on the Continent of Europe are certainly very different from those in Britain. I have not paid much attention to those in North America. Yours look unsurprisingly sturdy and confident.

Ripsa, I'm happy to hear you were not affected by the power outages. Times like this one does take a closer and more critical look at the services, or lack of them.

Joe, that's interesting, for I don't think I've looked at them closely enough to compare! These are in a compound in the city (I don't know the proper terminology) but I do think the long range ones that cross the hills, fields and mountains across the province are much heavier and taller. I'll be looking closer next time!