TOAST Magazine

Living Lines | Your Pictures

ARTS & CULTURE

This season, we have been exploring our relationship with the line throughout history, from weaving and writing to architecture.

To celebrate this, we invited you to share your own responses to the season's title, 'Living Lines', through a single photograph. We saw a range of wonderful images, from photographs documenting lines that have occurred naturally within a landscape, to the line on a hand and the silhouette of a cityscape. ⠀⠀

For this competition, we partnered with PATTERNITY, a creative organisation founded by pattern pioneers Anna Murray and Grace Winteringham. Their work encourages people to be more curious, collaborative and connected. Both Anna and Grace are united in their belief that pattern has the power to positively shape the world and expand our lives.

Anna and Grace used their pattern spotting skills to select their favourite photograph from the entries. The winning entry came from Ana Obst, whose moon-like, rocky landscape was taken at Burren National Park in Ireland.

"I love this image, and for me it sums up the essence of the Living Lines campaign," explains Anna from PATTERNITY. "It feels so raw and elemental, nature is shown in its full, powerful and beautiful force. There is something about the interaction of water and rocks that gives a sense of the enduring nature of time".

Below are the comments from our winner Ana Obst and twelve runners up about the inspirations behind their own living lines.

Ana Obst

Formed millions of years ago beneath long forgotten tropical seas, and thanks to ancient earth movements, we can see vertical lines of weakness on the unique greyish-blue limestone layers. These beds of rock are often described as a moody place. But during spring months, vividly coloured flora comes to life.

For now, I have memories of slippy and dark terrain with wind in my hair and sounds of crashing waves on the shore. But I will look forward to experiencing that explosion of colours and wildlife. Until then, I'm recommending Ben Howard's relevant song, simply called "The Burren".

Emily Grimble

After graduating from Central Saint Martins, I lived in Paris for six months. This photograph was taken in mid-January, on a bright but chilly morning.  

Catharine Neilson

Being in Kathmandu was like a dream, I had never seen light so beautiful before. The image was taken when I visited Kathmandu in 2016 as part of a group of photography students. I was struck by the colours and patterns everywhere. I lost myself in the mystery of wondering why someone had painted this orange line on these stairs. I am drawn always to human behaviour and the traces we leave behind. 

Andrea Aguilera

I am intrigued by the poetry that light creates when it pierces different objects and creates beautiful shadows. The ones that appear in the photo, taken in Biscay in Bilbao, are from a small corner at my college, where I study Fine Art. After class, I can always find delightful lighting. 

Levas Žiriakovas

The title of this picture is "Shadow, Bicycle, Man". I took it in 2010 in New York, when I was visiting for my childhood friend’s wedding. It was my second visit to the city. It looked so fascinating to me because it is such a stark difference to the place where I live in Vilnius, Lithuania. This particular image was shot near Lincoln Center and I can remember how attracted I was to the mass of the building and the way the sun set upon it.

Holly Curley

The first photo, picturing a blissfully unaware man sat on a bench, was taken in the Embajadores neighbourhood of Madrid. I spotted him doing a crossword and I couldn't resist getting a quick snap to capture his wonderful outfit and leisurely pose. The second photo was shot from the doorway of a second-hand bookshop in Nice, called La Magasin Pittoresque on Rue Delille. The owner may have popped out for a coffee as I couldn’t find them on my first visit, but I came back later that afternoon to purchase a book.

Rosie Rix

I had recently moved to Berlin when I took this photo. I was struggling to find familiarity in a new, daunting city in the depths of winter. I would get up at around 5:30am to catch the U-bahn to work, where this photo was taken. The man in the photo was standing next to me with his back pressed against the glass that was separating us. It was such a rare, unassuming sight of beauty. 

Yasemin Yasar

This was taken during a short trip to the Norfolk Coast, two days after my final graduate show. Looking back this image portrays how I was feeling in that moment in time. As a newly-graduated artist, everything seemed so uncertain - just as uncertain, if not more, in today’s current climate as it did then. However, I know that the mist always lifts and we will all see a little clearer.   

Jan Roberts

I was in Cape Town last month, when the world began its path into a parallel universe. The South African government declared that all visitors should return home, meaning that I had to abandon my planned road trip. I had a couple of days in partial lockdown before my return home to London, so decided on a mini-adventure by air as consolation. I took a helicopter trip across Western Cape and took my trusty camera up there with me.

The Atlantic Ocean is quite the show-off and puts on many displays of histrionics around the coastline. This particular shot was taken crossing False Bay, where the waves were quite uniform and performing a very structured and synchronised ballet for me.

Kate Lovell

I lived in New York in my early twenties, and took this photo possibly 16 years ago. I had taken a trip out of town to Coney Island, to shoot on a sunny day. When I took this photo, I loved how peaceful it seemed. It looked like these were the only two souls walking along a boardwalk that was actually full of people. Looking at it now after weeks of social distancing, it seems not an unfamiliar image. When I go out on my daily walks I see families, couples and solo walkers, all in their own outdoor bubbles, drifting across open spaces. I feel sad and peaceful all at once looking at this image just as I do on my walks knowing that some of us may be finding new opportunities to bond with one another and yet others may be struggling with feeling alone. I also feel a sense of space and time slowed down when I look at this and when I walk and that is a good feeling.

Pam Otto

I live in Newlyn in the far west of Cornwall and this particular picture was taken in Newlyn harbour. I’m a retired lecturer from Falmouth University where I taught in the illustration department. I love living in Newlyn beside the sea, but also in the heart of a community that is still a thriving fishing harbour. It’s also of course a rather unusual place having been at the heart of an artistic community so, all of my favourite things rolled into one!

Maria Sigma

The photo was while I was weaving on my loom in my studio in Deptford in March. The piece is a handwoven fabric for upholstery made with black mercerised cotton and natural horse hair, commissioned by J.M. Szymanski, a New York based furniture maker.

Gretel Cooper

I took this photo in September 2018, when working for the RSPB as a Learning Officer at Sandwell Valley Nature Reserve. It's an amazing place that gives free access to a beautiful wilderness just a few miles from Birmingham City Centre. My mission at the time was to introduce city children to the nature on their doorstep. The day I took the photo, it struck me how neatly arranged all of the wellies were, with similar patterns on the soles, and varying levels of mud as evidence of what the wearer have been doing in them. They will have been worn by many volunteers on dozens of occasions. I love the sense of community that they represent. 



Ana’s winning photograph will be featured in the window of one of our TOAST Shops, when we are able to open them once more. You can explore all of the entries on Instagram through the hashtag #TOASTlivinglines.

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