Natural Forms

Writer and photographer John Drake notices the interchangeability of sea life and climbing holds.

1

1

The Mollusca (pronounced /mɵˈlʌskə/), common name molluscs or mollusks[note 1] (pronounced /ˈmɒləsks/), are a large phylum ofinvertebrate animals.

2

2

There are around 85,000 recognized extant species of molluscs.

3

3

Mollusca is the largest marine phylum, comprising about 23% of all the named marine organisms.

4

4

Numerous molluscs also live in freshwater and terrestrial habitats.

5

5

Molluscs are highly diverse, not only in size and in anatomical structure, but also in behaviour and in habitat.

6

6

The phylum is typically divided into nine or ten taxonomic classes, of which two are entirely extinct.

7

7

Molluscs have such a varied range of body structures that it is difficult to find defining characteristics that apply to all modern groups.

8

8

The two most universal features are a mantle with a significant cavity used for breathing and excretion, and the structure of the nervous system.

9

9

As a result of this wide diversity, many textbooks base their descriptions on a hypothetical “generalized mollusc”.

10

10

This has a single, “limpet-like” shell on top, which is made of proteins and chitin reinforced with calcium carbonate, and is secreted by a mantle that covers the whole upper surface.

11

11

Molluscs have been and still are an important food source for anatomically modern humans.

12

12

However there is a risk of food-poisoning from toxins that accumulate in molluscs under certain conditions, and many countries have regulations that aim to minimize this risk.

Ever since I was a kid I have been struck by the relationship of natural forms to one another.  My time climbing, cycling and surfing has deepened this fascination. Minerals, fluids, lichen – aeon-old elements come together to create environments on which to play. A glassy face, a gritstone scar – a flowing double. All of these things are expressions – in incremental elements – of the simple, basic stuff of the world. And when humans attempt to artificially ape these natural elements, surprising serendipities arise. I noticed a long while ago that the holds on climbing walls were beautifully resonant of sea life. These are just a few of a set of pictures that are proving to be a bit of a strange and ongoing obsession.

“A glassy face, a gritstone scar – a flowing double. All of these things are expressions – in incremental elements – of the simple, basic stuff of the world.”

 

Explore more...