3.14159265359 | Sculpture by Dan in the River Don | Sheffield | November 2016 | © Postcard Cafe  (sp1000747e)

River sculpture by Dan

Dan has created a number of sculptures in the River Don in Sheffield.  They are all made from materials found in the river.  All are free-standing and as the water levels rise during the winter months most will be returned to the river bed.


4 thoughts on “3.14159265359

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  1. These river sculptures are special. The artist Dan seems to have many things to say. The sculptures and the writings that go with them are engaged and political, inspiring in these peculiar hard times.
    It is great to see the sweep of one sculpture after another from the bridge over River Don.
    Your photographs are appreciative of the sculpture, do it justice, and make a beautiful record.
    I wonder if it would be possible to also catch the sweep of several of the sculptures together.

    1. Hi Chris,
      It was a real treat last Friday to stumble upon these sculptures. Myself and a friend chanced upon them while on a short walk. I took some shots but returned on Saturday and Sunday with a filter and tripod that allowed me to produce the images I’ve posted here.
      When I returned I observed the detail and precision in how they had been made.
      I agree with all your comments. I like that the artist has found a way to express himself with both words and art but not placed himself at the centre of his work.
      I met Dan on the Sunday and we had a long conversation about his art and his motivation. It is very much a response to the unsettling political and social times in which we are living. He has no interest in promoting himself, only for his art to do the speaking.
      I like that the river will eventually reclaim the sculptures and the temporary nature of what he has done. Dan on the other hand would like some of them to last and to be a bit more permanent.
      In making the river sculptures Dan has created some moments of wonder and people can enjoy them and take as much from them as they wish. Some will enjoy the political and social commentary. Others will simply enjoy the spectacle of seeing so many sculptures.
      I enjoyed them on many levels. One of the things I like about artworks such as these is that they act as a catalyst. They start conversations between strangers. They engage people with social and political debate. They raise questions about the value of art. They give photographers some challenges…! These sculptures are more than the sum of their whole.
      Regarding photographs of the sweep of the river and capturing more together… The weather was not brilliant on the days I was there and if you know the location you will know that from either side and from the road bridge you are raised quite high above the river. From the foot bridge you face the sunshine/light. From any position where you might be able to take in more sculptures you are quite some distance away from the subjects. It means the sculptures would end up very small and somewhat lost in the reflections and shadows. You will notice there is a photo of three together. It was the most I could get that still offered some of the detail. All of the logistical things and my intention to produce images that do the sculptures justice meant that I haven’t yet successfully captured a sweep of the river and sculptures.
      I agree that it would be good to see them all together but my attempts didn’t work out as well as I had hoped. I appreciate the suggestion though 🙂
      I also appreciated your generous comments about the photographs I have published. I really wanted to capture some images that did justice to the artworks. Dan had spent many hours making them and I spent many hours appreciating them. I think it was having spent some time with them that allowed me to see the sculptures for what they are. By isolating them and shooting them quite close up means the detail and colours are revealed. I hope it makes the images more engaging. As I say the light was not brilliant and this particular photo was taken as the light was going towards the end of the afternoon.
      When taking photographs there are always a set of decisions to be made. What to include and exclude from the shot. Portrait or landscape etc etc Some of those decisions are influenced by the light, the environment, the available equipment/lenses.
      The location of Dans works certainly set up quite a few challenges photographically so I was pleased to get the shots I did.
      Dan liked my images and I’ve offered to take some more for him when he resumes building in the Spring.
      Thanks for stopping by and for taking time to leave your comments. All very much appreciated.
      Have a great weekend.
      Best wishes
      Mr Cafe

  2. Thank you. They have become quite a talking point among the arts community in Sheffield. Dan has essentially remained anonymous and is not part of the established arts community. There has been much speculation about who built the sculptures. I felt lucky to have met him and to have had such an interesting conversation.
    Photographically these were not easy things to capture. Lots of reflections swallowed up the sculptures. Hence my decision to use a slow shutter speed.
    I popped back today to see how the sculptures have stood up to the rain and rising river. Most are still standing but a few have been reclaimed by the river.
    Best wishes
    Mr C

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