Mirrors in the desert

I loved these images and the back story to them when I read them in Fast Co Design. Here’s the full story behind the striking photographs:

New York-based photographer Daniel Kukla has traveled the world for his work, but earlier this year he had the opportunity to explore the wilds of a locale that was entirely new to him–southern California. In March, he took to the terrain of Joshua Tree for the first time to complete an artist’s residency awarded by the United States National Park Service, and captured the unique contrast of two perspectives for The Edge Effect

In order to familiarise himself with the surroundings, he set out solo, taking time to explore the craggy earth and consider what his as-yet-unplanned project would become. “Being in a completely foreign environment made me incredibly curious, and I spent hours each day hiking and poking around” he said. Inspiration was everywhere, but it was surprisingly tough becoming accustomed to the solitude. “The isolation was quite a challenge at first. Adapting from a life where I am constantly around people to an existence where I was on my own took some time.”

Sussing out how to translate his findings into photographs was another matter. “I knew I wanted to work with the landscape and alter it in some fashion, but the idea of mirrors didn’t occur to me until I was driving in the park as sunset one night and the rearview mirror captured the sun and the coming night lay ahead of me,” he says. From there, it was a matter of figuring the logistics of the concept on a completely different scale. “I experimented with a set of small mirrors at first but moved on to a large mirror so that I could fully expose the contrasting landscape, and truly insert an image within an image.”


The Chardonnay

Now I realise that even the title of the post will have some wine buffs up in arms.

Chardonnay is not a wine grape that has covered itself in glory in recent years. It has come to stand for all that is crass and commercial in modern wine with artificially oaked and chemically enhanced Australian and Californnia wines making Chardonnay a veritable swear word.

In fact now it’s so difficult to find a decent one the pendulum has swung in the opposite direction with little or nothing on the shelves – the fashion right now is for highly acidic Sauvignon Blanc whites which I like, but…

Heres where I come clean. J and I developed a taste for buttery, oaky Chardonnays on trips to California and over the years we have been relentlessly searching for similar wines in the UK – imported from California or South Africa or even France – to no avail. We’ve come close with Majestic Wine having a small but perfectly formed selection, but their buyers must find the whole notion of oaky Chardonnays abhorrent as they are few and far between. The likes of Harvey Nichols has  a few nice options but they are fearsomely expensive. It seems the American like many wine-producing nations like to keep the best for themselves.

Imaging my joy then when passing independent wine and liquor store Latitude in Leeds when I popped in on the off-chance they might have a few options. Well, I struck pay dirt with the manager proudly displaying his wares of ‘unfashionably oaky Chardonnays’ (my words not his, by the way). There was plenty to choose from and after signing up for their loyalty card ( I think I’ll be back there very soon), I scuttled off to see how the promising Napa Cellars 2010 Chardonnay would fare when paired with a delicious hand-picked crab salad.

Well it was off the scale – well-balanced oak, creamy and buttery and notes of caramel at the finish. Too much for some people I’m sure but we marvelled as the deep creamy yellow slid around the glass. Probably the nearest we’ve had to the up scale Napa Chardonnay we tasted last year in California. Nirvana in a glass.

I think I’m going to be on first name terms with the guys at Latitude very soon…