If there is one thing region designers / owners tend to love in Second Life, it is lighthouses. Over the years, I’ve visited and written about hundreds of region designs around the grid, and one of the most common elements to be found across them is the humble (or grand, or steampunkish or fallen or … and so on!) lighthouse. And they reside not just on public regions either; they can oft pop-up on private region homes (so much so that a couple of estates around Blake Sea actually requested tenants stop using lighthouses as island décor!).
And to be fair, they can be an eye-catching sight – I admit to photographing more than a few in my travels and frequently use one of SL’s most famous lighthouses: that of Blake Sea – Crows Nest (itself modelled after Fastnet, off the southern coats of Ireland) as a backdrop for photos of boats and aircraft.
Give their extensive use, lighthouses present an interesting topic for a photographic exhibition – as witnessed by the Queen Bee Gallery July exhibition at Hannington Endowment for the Arts (HEA). A Tribute to Second Life Lighthouses features no fewer than 38 images of lighthouses from around Second Life, captured by Ferugina Luna.
Offered in a range of styles: individual pieces, themed groups, lightly processed, untouched and significantly processed, triptych style, and do, on these are images that cover all of the various types of lighthouse to be found within Second Life – inland, coastal, tall, short, with accompanying keeper’s house, standing alone, guarding sea routes or looking out from beaches or cliffs…
To be sure, thirty-eight is a lot of images to take in. On the one hand, they reveal that when all is said and done, there is a little number of individual variants to be found within SL (excluding those that are custom-built). It means there is a certain amount of repetition to be found within the images – the aforementioned fallen lighthouse, for example. On the other, by having so many images to hand it is possible to see the many individual ways in which region owners and designers put them to use to make a statement about their land; while the same design may appear in multiple images, the manner in which each is used can be quite individual.
There’s something else in this as well – seeing the same design from multiple angles can do much to “place” it in terms of the possible inspiration behind it. Thus, A Tribute to Second Life Lighthouses offers visitors a twofold treat: images of the subject matter from around SL, and an opportunity to consider where on Earth some of the inspirations for the building designs come from. For me, I found myself looking at photos from around the UK; others might well be put in mind of famous lighthouses from their part of the world. My one regret with this exhibit is the in-world locations where the pictures were taken isn’t evident.
- Hannington Endowment for the Arts ( Xeltentat Enterprises, rated Moderate)