I had been leafing through D’Arcy Thompson’s On Growth And Form.  It’s a pretty difficult read.  One theme is how biological structure is produced by certain recurring mechanical principles: how, for example, a ram’s horn comes to be curved (one side grows faster than the other, if I remember correctly).

I picked up this tiny little shell on a beach.  I didn’t have any kit for macrophotography so I used a little point and shoot which had a digital magnifying scale to get focus as close as possible.  Then I lit it with an anglepoise lamp to bring out the shape. 

The visual interest of the result for me is its ambiguity.  It’s clearly a hard structure designed to protect its contents but at the same time it has a soft, you  might even say seductive, flowing line which is emphasised by the striations.   What is it – hard or soft?  It’s both.