Sunday, April 06, 2008

Wabi-Sabi 7: Amber


Meet Amber.

"自甘堕落的" ("abandoned")

i walk past this entry way every morning on my lone journey to work. it is as if the owner decided to leave his life forever, simply by chaining the gate closed. the chinese address is stripping off the wall and the mini-trees have patiently awaited their caretaker's non-return. i imagine the once vibrant home sleeps now to its own decline.

"decaying prayers"

one day last week i was walking under a viaduct near our apartment and i came across an altar set upon broken book shelves and consisting of chinese and hindu figurines. the dust settled upon the deities as they looked over the finished incense sticks, which i assume represent prayers that have long since vanished into the unknown. i took this photo with a sepia tint as the antiquity of the idols seemed to suggest they had been listening for a long time.

"sacrifical chondrocytes"

this was a fun photo to take. as a stem cell and tissue repair scientist, much of my work consists of trying to regenerate bone and stimulate stem cells to start functioning again. i took this image this morning as i was evaluating a histological stain of the epiphyseal growth plate in a rat tibia. to get to this point, i embedded a whole rat bone in resin and then took hair-thin sections to mount on a microscope slide. i then stained the tissue with several different "patinas" to identify the cellular components. the round cells ordered in parallel lines are a way they are marching to their death as they become hypertrophic in nature (fat and round). it is here that they give a last effort to lay down cartilage which, upon their death, is mineralized into bone by osteoclasts and osteoblasts. the black color is calcified cartilage or newly formed bone matrix. this production of bone from cartilage is what occurs at your growth plate and in simple terms, lengthens your long bones and allows you to grow. ironically, the process of decay and aging is exactly what leads to growth.

Comments and Voting begin, lah.


I, Mollie said...

i love the living plant in front of the "abandoned" gate.
i love the dusty icons and what prayers they must have sent out...or held in.
i love the chondrocytes, giving up life to give life.

i'm feeling just the tiniest bit intimidated. lucky for the fam, you are entirely loving and approachable :)
otherwise, i would admire you from a distance and tell people i saw you somewhere cool.

the ruffhouse said...

So I don't have the brain capacity to follow exactly what I'm viewing here, but the colors in the rat bone photo are beautiful. Perhaps the prettiest rat I've seen. Nice lines too.

amber said...

aw molls, you have made me blush, all the way across two oceans. i miss you lah.

Anonymous said...

Very thought provoking photos for a Tueday morning. Thank you! I think I will keep reading the chrondrocytes commentary several times today in hopes of understanding it a bit more. And, what a fresh direction with Wabi-Sabi. I like the thought of accepting even the things we can't see that are changing and ageing.
Really nice photos.


pops said...

It's nice to think about what we leave behind might spur growth somewhere else. I once saw Amber on Oprah. She's a brainiac.

Anonymous said...

Me like pretty colors of the blues and black and whites. No unner'stand the words after, but me likes it lots and lots.

Little peoples and plant also nice.

Me feel smarter just being part of this.


carroll lane said...

Amber the first picture is very captivating...there is such a story waiting to be told behind that gate. The second one is really beautiful too. And the third, well, I can't believe we just happened to be doing the same thing yesterday except I used green instead of blue. ha! I love it!

mer said...

Amber, these are so wonderful! I love all of them and am so impressed with your skills as a photographer, writer, and scientist! Thank you so much for sharing!

bp said...

Amber, these pics blow me away. They are incredible. I love the first one with it's simplicity and story, but the 3rd one has such incredible meaning and depth- awesome job~~ BP

amber said...

thank you everyone for such encouraging comments. :) it is wonderful to be a part of something so creative...thk u molls for inspiring us!

Anonymous said...

I find that in my life, when it comes to explaining how creative or how cool something is to me, words do not flow the same. The first word(s) I thought of when I saw your pictures were these.

Pic 1. Memories
Pic 2. Lost Hopes
Pic 3. Neat

While the third one carries with it air of a more scientific nature, it tells me just how deeply the natural cycles in life and death run. It seems to gain, one must almost always sacrifice, even when your speaking molecularly. (Is that a word?)

There is a lot to be said about the 2nd photo. Perhaps I would loose my audience on page three, so I will leave it with the one word I started it with.

And finally the 1rst photo. It makes me dread pulling weeds, dead or alive :-). But upon further thought, I think that this photo represents to me a memory that someone just wanted to leave behind and not deal with.

Great photo's bear. You always have been extreemly creative.

Love Brian