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Belated Thoughts, Volume 1: Images

Despite my best efforts, life has seen it fit to prevent me from contributing to the discussions with my fellow geeks-in-training.  However, through a series of belated thoughts (I’m a couple of weeks behind), I hope to share a few of my reflections on past topics.  That being said, let’s think back to images…

Golden Ears Provincial Park, British Columbia, Canada

Images have power – they make us laugh, they make us cry, they make us remember.  The latter is what hit me most when I was rummaging through Flickr for this post.  I was thinking of sustainability and the endless war between urban and rural when I was directing my search but, in doing so, came across a personal memory captured through the lens of another.  The image I have included is by Michael Stahl (optimieron) whose hometown is here, in Toronto.  However, the image is of Golden Creek in Golden Ears Provincial Park which is an hour’s drive from my childhood home in Coquitlam, BC.  I have walked though the cedar-scented trails to this pebbled beach, I have skipped these stones across this creek, I grew up in places like this.  It has been many years since I thought about Golden Ears and the good times I had there as a kid and it is strange that a single image has the power to bring it all back in an instant.  What is even stranger is that this memory has been revived by chance by someone I have never met.  The internet is, indeed, a mysterious place.

However, regarding the topic I had originally intended to write about, this image will still serve its intended purpose.  This space is one of calm, peace, and serenity.  Although it less than 20km from Maple Ridge and just over 60km from Vancouver’s core, you cannot feel the urban vibe of the city here.  The area surrounding the park and the majority of the Fraser Valley to the east of this point are used as farm land.  Nourished by the Fraser River and protected by the Costal Mountain Range, the Fraser Valley is rich arable land.  The question this image asks is for how long?  What sustainability issues face the Lower Mainland?  Images have power – they remind us of the past, they show us the future, they stimulate discussion of the future.

That being said, I think my camera and I will have to make the trek out to Golden Ears during my next trip out west…


About Tufte and more

I was looking at Edward Tufte’s website when I realized that the covers of his books look familiar, well, it turns out that there are four of his books at home. When I asked my geeky partner about it, he said something like “he is the king of information visualization”.  (He also said that the books must be handled with extreme care).

So, I took a look at the books and realized that they are not just images, there is a whole world behind visual explanations, images, graphs and how we envision and display information. Looking at these books made me think of NSSE and the knowledge needed to display quantitative information effectively. I wonder if reading his books will give me some insights that I can apply when preparing visual presentations for the workshops or reports.

When looking at the photo sharing communities I remembered a great image of U of T, it’s from the blog Daily Dose of Imagery :

Kings Circle

King's College Circle

I used it in a presentation because it’s such a cool picture, but I really didn’t used it with any educational purposes, although the shape can be connected to planet and we can make the link to how UofT contributes to the world or how the student is connected to the world, why?, etc.

Finally, there is a really good resource called Visual Explorer you can find more information through the Centre for Creative Leadership. I was a participant in a workshop where the images were used and it was a wonderful learning experience.


U of T Images

I found myself surprisingly moved by the images of U of T on the flickr site.  I went from image to image and, with only a few exceptions (students playing ball or a solitary student here or there), found them curiously empty of people. The cumulative images leave me with a sense that the University of Toronto is perceived by most students to be, well, a place, not a community.  I picked one image that, I thought, typified this for me: