Lost Buoys Dragged From Flotsam

In a post earlier today I talked about how this project came about.  Here’s some details on how the pictures were made:

Buoys float, because they’re made of styrofoam. I was hoping that some of that buoyancy would be apparent in these pictures. With that in mind, I looked for whimsical points of view. Later, I tried to do the same with the treatments. Buoys are cone-shaped or cylindrical–about a foot tall. I decide to emphasize the curvature rather than try to fool you into thinking you’re looking at a flat plain. The curvature became most apparent with a little bit of vignetting. Most of these pictures were taken from about a foot away with a Canon G 10.

Buoys are marked up by fisherman. They paint them with stripes and carve numbers into them so that they can ID their traps. When buoys break free of their lines, they float around for months–aging, cracking, and acquiring all sorts of grit. I’ve come across some that have been out there for so long that they resemble shrunken heads. Eventually they arrive here in flotsam, with the nicest ones fully ripened. To me, the best specimens have great complexity of colors and textures. This happens after many months of marination out there in the brine.

The pictures work differently depending on whether you view them large or small. My wife tells me that they resemble little tiles. Perhaps they’d make good icons for desktop folders. The enlarged images are more revelatory because of the cues formed by scale and subject. If I decide to print them I’m not sure how I might want to size them, or if it even matters. Click on any picture you want to see bigger, or to leave a comment on a specific piece.

I began by entitling these pictures with odd or fanciful names. That wasn’t working so I changed them to Roman Numerals. After thinking about it for awhile I settled on the Latin characters for numbers. I don’t speak the language, but they say there’s romance in it.

37 thoughts on “Lost Buoys Dragged From Flotsam

      1. John, I enjoyed to read more of your personal background and life in your blog telling about the visit to the beach after Sandy. And the pictures of the buoys are sublime. They are really beautiful.


  1. These are great John. FYI – I tried to leave a message yesterday but it crashed for some reason.

    Anyway, I think this series is excellent!


  2. These are fantastic! Colours as always are superb. I would never have guessed what they were – had you told us they were paintings I think I would have believed you! I love them all together as a set like this..


  3. Wonderful series, John and a beautiful tribute. The story behind them really enriches the experience of seeing them all together. And the colours are so distinctively of coastal life.


  4. How wonderful. Going crazy with the like button here…. But I mean the whole thing. I never would have guessed, and I didn’t know this about buoys. I like what you say about the curves as well.
    So sad about the hurricane. I am seeing in the news how people are suffering.


  5. These are awesome abstractions. They look like MOMA material. You certainly turned “storm time” waiting and gas lines into something positive.


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