Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Origami From Long Ago

Long, long ago, I used to do origami.

It was a hobby - and at times an obsession - that I enjoyed greatly.

It started out innocently enough. Someone showed me how to do an origami crane.

Sometime later I picked up a book on origami animals. Soon I was creating koalas, penguins, and countless other animals.

One thing that I enjoyed about origami was seeing a plain (or not so plain) piece of paper gradually transform into something it wasn't. How does a koala hide in plain sight in a sheet of paper?

Eventually stumbled onto a book about unit origami. I was quickly hooked (and my origami paper expenses skyrocketed).

While I found 'regular' origami to be a soothing exercise, unit origami was simultaneously stimulating and meditative.

I would sit for hours at a time hunched over a table folding one unit after another after another until I had enough to assemble into a larger creation.

I don't recall how large my largest unit origami piece was. My recollection is that it was just shy of one hundred pieces. The larger pieces took a surprising amount of care to assemble and - not surprisingly - a lot of patience.

I created some ambitious unit origami structures in my day, but I freely admit that even my most ambitious creations paled in comparison to the creations of the true origami artists.

This hobby of mine lasted for a few years, and it played a key role early on in my career as a technical support engineer.

No one calls Support to say "Hi! How are you doing? I just wanted to call to say your product is awesome. Have a nice day!"

Nope, they call because something is broken, they want it fixed, and if they get to take their frustration out on you... BONUS!

To keep my cool, I used to sit at my desk, headphones on my head (as opposed to???), listen to each customer's tale of woe, and unbeknownst to the customer, I'd fold origami cranes. Lots of cranes. Hundreds of cranes. My desktop was piled high with cranes after a while.

This wasn't anything in the thousand cranes category, but the pile was impressive nonetheless.

If you would like to see more of my origami photos, have a look.

Coincidentally, when I stumbled onto these origami photos, I also stumbled onto this photo of me from - yikes - '89 or so.

It was taken by a friend of mine, Dan, who was an aspiring photographer.

The thing that struck me about the photo (aside from those dashing good looks) was how he captured me in focus but threw the background out of focus.

I was just starting to get into photography at the time and I didn't know how he'd achieved the effect. He kindly shared how he did it, and I added that knowledge to my bag of tricks.

Dan was great at taking portraits - a skill that I haven't mastered (whatsoever) in the intervening twenty - double yikes - plus years.

But looking at the origami photos side by side with the portrait Dan took of me, I remembered how I'd consciously employed Dan's technique to throw the background of my origami photos out of focus. And I remember how pleased I was to have been able to create more interesting photos of my origami than I'd have achieved without his assistance. I lost track of Dan long ago, but wherever you are, thanks.

I don't think I did much more with origami after I took these photos. Other hobbies - photography and travelling in particular - took over. You can see some of the results of those decades long hobbies online.

Now if only I could find the time to put together the embarrassingly large collection of photos that I've taken of trips - photos that I'd love to share.

One day...