Thursday, 4 January 2018

'Why do you use photography to explain the world around you?'

Both bodies of work (Loci, The Night is Quiet for Me) presented hold similarities, similarities which lie in the fundamental nature of my practice, something that only materialised in the past year working. When I look back through my images I don’t get the feeling I’m explaining anything through photography, ‘to explain’ would insinuate I have discernible answers; It’s more about trying to find answers, and through the taking of pictures, building a piece of research and attempting to flesh out an idea. So to me the keyword ‘explain’ doesn’t fit my work, but ‘explore’ does a lot better, or even an hypothesis on the world and mankind.

With my project ‘The Night is Quiet for Me’ it explores the idea of apotheosis and eternity through the death of Elvis, the images are of the fandom, souvenirs, and place. Describing the work as partially abstract it holds both a documentary merit, in the fact it was shot around the 40th anniversary of Elvis’ death; but abstract in the goal of exploring something more philosophical within death and eternity. If we take documentary as an act of explaining (but in no way a solid definition) I am not using photography to document the death of Elvis, but to try and understand the idea of living forever, and what it looks like in the largest concentrated form. ‘Loci’ almost strips itself completely of a documentary aspect as there is not a lot of imagery that lends itself to the location or a significant theme, but once again it is heavily based around the abstract notion of memory and ‘in between’ moments.

Photography is the synergy of what really interests me about the world, the physics of light, chemistry of film, and the philosophy and psychology within the act to photograph and to view a photograph. Photography itself is what I enjoy when I’m taking photos, and it allows me to take in the world as I perceive it, this is most likely why a lot of important points of my work, for me, are very practical and look at the choices inbedded in how to take the photo as well as how to present it; choice of film is just as important as the choice of print size.

My choice to use photography to view the world is because what I enjoy to photograph is reflected in my joy to photograph.  

Originally posted on Ain't-Bad Magazine

Monday, 4 December 2017

Images of the sky, specifically at day, have no anchor to location or time and so can be perceived of anywhere or anytime. In difference, at night, stars move across the sky and change throughout the year, there is a particular anchor to a night sky as it has it's own specific landmarks to identify with. There is both finite and infinite. As we grow up learning about the never ending vastness of Space we start to imagine how impossibly huge it is and how difficult it can be to imagine, but we can understand there are other planets, asteroids, solar systems, which gives a where and when to a photo of a night sky even if it is just a perception rather than knowledge. The image of blue sky acts like a barrier to the stars, in a way it holds no real mystery or imagination, even Wordsworth made the sky/cloud the protagonist because everything around it is somewhat more interesting to describe. Without landmark it floats unattached of an objective meaning or documentary use, it can still be open to be purely subjective, but without context it still sits idle on its own, wandering lonely.

Since context for the above image needs to be given, it is that it's from the body of work, 'The Night is Quiet for Me' which was shot in Tennessee following an Elvis pilgrimage. There is enough for a caption but for a while there was no meaning, for a long time the photo sat idle among the rest of the work, the only legitimate lineage it had to the project was the location and time it was taken. But such information is completely negated from the image, and so the lines of inclusion start to blur. To sequence it into a project surely there should be more said, it should link better with the work that surrounds it, there should be a deeper meaning that would allow the photo to be included.

I have recently been reading Luigi Ghirri's Complete Essays, and in it there is an essay titled 'From Contarina to Prince', the photo that sits pretty atop the page precedes a very important line. The image was of a blue sky that had eight electrical wires stretch perfectly straight across the frame, and within the first line, 13 words long, sat my perfect answer. As if I'd cheated on a test, Ghirri had past me a small serendipitous epiphany. It also seemed slightly fitting that as I sat with my project on Elvis, who never really wrote any of his own songs, that I should adopt the beautiful studium of another's photo as my own.

"The cables look like the lines of a sheet of music without notes." - Luigi Ghirri