Kindled Meme

– exploring the purpose of connection




We always have choices and on this day I choose to feel a bit daft.

Driving along but then ducking off the road – parking in a muddy verge and then loping off into a field with iPhone in hand. I hadn’t expected this and I am arrested by the moment.

Whilst I was snapping away I was aware of passengers in cars going past looking at me. Yes I’m supposed to – and allowed to – feel a bit daft.

But here’s the gig. For whatever the reason – by design or pure chance – a whole field is on fire with poppy redness. A camera can never capture it but from behind the wheel of my car – across the snapdragon yellow bonnet and stretched out forever – is a sea of flowers that I just didn’t expect.

Are they planted and planned or were the conditions ‘just right’? Did they pop, go viral – a groundswell event expressing passion and vitality in this flash of colour. An uprising.  Expected and predicted? Or did you have to be part of the in-group to know it was coming?

But here it is and it’s quite striking and I don’t mind stopping my day and trying to capture it.

What I find is that you need to seize these chances because when winter comes the images are even more precious. (And I’m plucking out these images now and it IS winter  and it is a blue-grey, wet-spray kind of world right now…)


Seeing these poppies – in a field at the start of Halfpenny Lane –  reminded me of the time (2002?) when Farringdon Hill – closer to home – exploded with poppies. A huge field at the foot of the Folly – totally committed to red – unexpected and dazzling to everyone that went past.

Memorable not just for the colour (or the shock of it), but also for the way people responded to the spectacle. The Folly hill, a field that sits at the side of the road – a busy road. People veered off their journeys – pulled onto the verge and walked into the field like pilgrims at Varanasi walking into the Ganges.

It was 10 Years ago – before mobile phones grew eyes – and people clasped their chunky AA-battery powered digital cameras and sought ways to steal a slice of the crimson. The Faringdon Poppies were stunning – I didn’t expect it and I doubt others didn’t either. I’d never seen it before and still don’t know if it is by design or chance that it happened.

But there in that moment we have impact and contrast. And cars and people all stop. And I still remember it.

The snaps below are pictures of my Oxfordshire poppies from last summer. But the picture at the top of the page is from a local artist who captured the Faringdon Folly experience – it’s quite beautiful and a wonderful thing she has painted.

A moment captured.





Author: jameslramsay

Practice director at the ShelfLife project - digital by day, campfire by night

2 thoughts on “Poppies

  1. Awesome! And you’re so right to have stopped and experience it, iPhone camera in hand and all. You know what is daft? Not stopping and enjoying it :).

    I wish you (and all readers here) a 2014 full of moments like this, and the clarity of mind to stop and enjoy them.

    • Thank you Arjan – happy new year to you too!

      I bought my first camera when I was a student and would take photos of the countryside – I studied out west in Wales by the sea and mountains. One Saturday a guy collared me to ask why I had been chasing sheep in a field on the outskirts if town….

      Of course I hadn’t been chasing sheep but was taking pictures – it wasn’t ‘art’ but it was open to misinterpretation … And on that occasion the ‘sheep fancier’ rumour spread in the student union. I guess now I’m over sensitive to looking daft (in a field with a camera)

      Wishing you a storming 2014!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s