Photoessay: Wrinkles (or, window seat VII)

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The scale of terrestrial features from the air never fails to remind us that no matter what we do, humankind is nothing more than a minor surface blemish on the skin of the earth – we might change it, but on the scale of geological time nature always wins and carries on without us. I suppose in that vein this series of images are some very macro closeups of pores, wrinkles, hairs, cuticles and the like – along with one rather isolated and dodgy looking facility next to a rocky outcrop in Iran… MT

This series was shot with a Nikon Z7, 24-70/4 S and my custom SOOC JPEG profiles.

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Prints from this series are available on request.


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Images and content copyright Ming Thein | 2012 onwards unless otherwise stated. All rights reserved


  1. We must not lose sight that our civilization and Life share the same thin planetary skin and we are grossly overpowering millions of years of evolution. Humanity deeply affects the thin biosphere which is what we refer to as “Our Planet”. I think this essay is more of the whole Third Planet wiping out the whole living system over geological timescales rather than evolution erasing the human species.

  2. These are excellent images, so interesting.

  3. Michael says:

    One man’s minor surface blemish may be another’s failed experiment. At least the forces of nature and the time scale of geology shown here make it clear that we don’t have to Save The Planet. The planet will be here, spinning along, no matter how thoroughly we screw up. It will just wait for the blemish to become quiescent, then replace it with something else.

    • Probably. But sadly, as we screw it up for ourselves, we do so for other innocent species too.

      • I wonder if other species had the same effect in the past…there were periods of extinction, but also ones of proliferation; perhaps we don’t see it simply because of the time scales we are talking about.

    • We’ve only been around for the last million years (or less, depending on how you want to measure it). The planet was around before, it’ll continue long after…

    • Kristian Wannebo says:

      A great talk:
      Greta Thunberg recently on climate change and how it already influences us, 70 min.
      Here is an English version:

      It’s the best analysis of *our* situation I’ve yet heard,
      and her presentation is exceptional.
      – – * – –

      > “[The planet] will just wait for the blemish to become quiescent, then replace it with something else.”
      Just so !!
      – – –

      [ My private speculation:
      Unless we manage the just possible and hard… and even then?

      For a start some of us may have time to migrate to Siberia and northern Canada – just think of the following deforestation.
      Not to mention wars for land, water and food.

      With new room for coming new species in a new environment…
      … hopefully a future Homo Secundus will turn out wiser?]

  4. Wow, such a beautiful collection! Such an inspiring series 👌

  5. Pierre Lagarde says:

    So beautiful. Incredible views Ming. Thanks for sharing, as always.

  6. jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

    LOL – even geology’s “wrinkles” are dwarfed, when viewed from a distance. Mankind simply has delusions of grandeur, when we try to add our own wrinkles to what nature has given us.
    It still makes for interesting photos though, as these photos demonstrate.

    • Agreed – and some individuals are more guilty of this than others…sometimes a little reminder of our smallness isn’t a bad thing.

      • Kristian Wannebo says:

        To you both,

        Hear, hear !!

        … and the sad thing is that we’ve always known it, but never learned – consider Icarus…

        • Or, modern version, Concorde…

          • Kristian Wannebo says:

            … or fossil energy, except as a parenthesis.
            In physics class in school some 60 years ago there was a graph of CO2 increase in the atmosphere – and I wondered what consequences that would have.

            • I wonder how prescient that graph was vis a vis today…

              • Kristian Wannebo says:

                I do too…
                I don’t remember the numbers,
                but a modern graph shows an increase in the 1960s of 20% over pre-industrial values.
                Not so scary, but acceleration since 1950 shows,
                which ought to have raised some scientists’ eyebrows – except for that “Icarus effect”…

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