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.
I have a free monthly newsletter that’s perfect for busy people. Signup for the Newsletter to get the best of my posts, old and new, plus additional content not available anywhere else.
7 thoughts on “Proxy for the Exotic”
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.
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.
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.
That’s a surprising amount of ecological diversity. Thanks for letting me know.
And yet, I still want to photograph Texas scrub. 🙃
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!
That can work. Perhaps a more serious cactus photo session is order for some future supermarket run.