Proxy for the Exotic

Supermarket Cactus - Austin, Texas

Supermarket Cactus – Austin, Texas

This may only be a common supermarket cactus, but it’s a proxy for so much more. The benefits of a global supply chain have made exotic species — once located far away — within easy reach. It wasn’t too long ago when seeing something like this, outside its native desert, would have produced a sense of wonder. I could imagine people paying money to see specimens like this at World’s Fairs in Europe a century ago.

Now, the unusual becomes ubiquitous and blends into the background. However, photography is the act of seeing, often everyday items that are ignored by busy people. Yes, a picture of a cactus is now mundane. However, it’s a symbol of the quest to keep on searching, in boring suburbs filled with the unremarkable, some of which were once quite exotic.

I made this photograph with the Canon G1X Mark II, the camera that I hinted a couple of days ago. I like the character of the images it produces. There seems to be a glow that other cameras don’t always produce.

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7 thoughts on “Proxy for the Exotic

  1. I didn’t grow up in a desert but cactus like these are normal and native plant growth in some of the British Caribbean Islands where I was born and raised. It was never exotic. Growing up, apples, pears and strawberries were exotic fruit. I didn’t have my first peach, plum and blueberry until I moved to the USA in 1986.

    1. Didn’t know they had cactus on Caribbean Islands. But, yes I don’t expect some of the fruits you mention since I think they need some cold weather to grow properly.

      I suppose exotic is a relative term, like most things.

      1. The Caribbean Islands have a natural vegetation consisting of lowland and montane tropical forest, evergreen thicket, savanna, cactus-thorn scrub, marsh or swamp, mangrove, beach, and riverine communities. The total flora of the region consists of about 13,000 vascular plant species with around 6550 regional endemic species.

  2. Very striking. Move that pot to a dull, red clay surface with no distractions…take a slightly wider shot…and have it printed as a 4 X 4 foot matte finish or canvas wrap item for the wall of a severely minimalist white and gray decor modern home. Whammo!

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