Monday, 20 April 2009

der geist der stets verneint


Places, encounters and the nature of immortality through a lens. So you walk into a place like this and it seems to have been frozen, the only movement is the build of dust and time and perhaps the banging of a loose shutter. The elements of a life gathered and disintegrating is a kind of theatre where the actors are invisible or perhaps suggested by the commemoratives hanging on a wall. In this instance 3 weddings, a patriarchal figure, a stag hunt and the Nazarene. This is the visible cast that suggests drama, linear motion and time, a suggestion in 1 frame. The secondary cast is the absent one; the debris on the bed that resembles evidence of a figure disappearing but in reality is something else, the delicately disintegrating embroidery that would have been part of a dowry trunk. This binds the drama.
I've been thinking about this a lot recently.
I used to scavenge these abandoned buildings, collecting small artifacts, stealing little elements of people's lives because I was so struck by the story contained in each environment. It all had a value to me as it related to time; the time I had seen. I'd often rearrange these things in boxes, glass fronted boxes that were shrines to the places, there was a lot of junk, still is a lot of junk that I keep because I can see a value in it.
I came across a suitcase full of photographs in a tannery, there was also a suitcase full of exercise books that chronicled a young girl's education between 2 wars and during the second. I sat there for hours looking at those images that combined with some letters began to emerge like a puzzle. Certain people appearing with regularity, growing, aging having children, emigrating etc. These photos dated from a time before the whole world was entitled to a point and shoot. Most of the photographs are staged studio portraits but there were quite a few incidentals, someone out with a camera shooting real time instead of staged time. When I finally left the place, returning all the photos carefully to the suitcase I had that feeling like when you walk into a cinema in daytime to watch a Tarkovsky film and emerge at night. All those people were suddenly resurrected in my mind, they were continuing the actions that had been frozen in frames and were now embarked on another life. In my head.
I did return, how could I stay away, I wanted to get to know them better. When I got back the place had been vandalized, the photos and exercise books were strewn everywhere and what had been a carefully packed small cardboard box of paper thin liqueur glasses nestled amongst the images was all smashed up. I took what I could salvage and now keep them in an old suitcase at home. Some I've framed.
What this discovery showed me is how close photography comes to immortality because it captures time as well as light and 'souls'. I don't collect things anymore and I don't make other things out of them but I do look for the story that exists in these places.



By the third day it was so
organized, so nearly
differentiated that it was
beautiful. On the fourth
the light became specific
to sources and could be
turned away from. Unlike
Heaven with its omnidirectional
brilliance, its unceasing
labour of song,
so that the angels,
to grasp the word 'ending', could only
fondle the boundaries of
their own bodies-and wonder
what that foreshadowed.

Cooper Esteban


the 2 colour photos are from the house of a sculptor who died recently, he had grafitti'd the whole place with angels, it was a very strange and mysterious building to walk into.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

some other things


i love the tones in this shot - its like a black and white- yet something of the color suggests it may be not - i assume i assume - yet nevertheless the less creates an intriguing atmosphere - the man - could be be doing any number of things - including adjusting his mental health - with a head tap - urinating or attempting to to push down the wall - all together the light -balance- combining with the color makes a very atmospheric shot 

john lindus

Sunday, 12 April 2009

recording time


the omniprescence of photographs has an incalculable effect on our ethical sensibility. by furnishing this already crowded world with a duplicate one of images, photography makes us feel that the world is more available than it really is
susan sontag

observation reflects absence | allusion is pithily ironic | preemptive arbiter of ideas | caustic voice | we take our thoughts from the accumulated rubble of any single moment of our mental state and enter them into forms suitable for discourse - bochner 1971 | the embrace of a snapshot aesthetic | without strategy the images find a binding narrative of their own simply by being | people remain attached to the most recent past - rear view mirror | take the gun beyond the cliche - impossible | what are the challenges of a nonlinear story | non linear structures allow one to explore time - opening it up - pulling it back and revealing the inner workings of a single moment - doug aitken | film is a vehicle for recording time - silence and the still image also - its just that more is left to the viewers perception | the rationality of imposed structure - cinema is an imposed structure of time whether linear or not - as recent cinematography moves to expressing time in layers and folds - borrowing of earlier literary techniques | the top image is one of my favourite shots of john

Thursday, 9 April 2009

je suis autre


performance of obduracy | weightless dispersion | evaporation | all of us reinvent ourselves - some are more drastic than others | culturally displaced - seeking an identity in time - eschewing chronology in favour of loosely thematic clusters | jacques lecan - the impossibility of seeing the self - the idea of identity constructed in the nonrelation between the subjects misconstrued perception of his own autonomy - the mirror stage | ideas about identity and perception are as much matters of instinct as they are realisations of theoretical interests | an absent subject that knows itself to exist in other forms beyond the picture | the self portrait as representation is anything but transparent -reflective | they are performances of mutability fragmentation and fantasy in which the subject is anything but self meditative and the principle revelation offered is that the artist is someone else | provisional psyche | hegel -that which is capable of maintaining within itself its own contradiction | having the capacity to recognise that ones self is outside ones representation | je suis autre - rimbaud


Monday, 6 April 2009

available realities

available realities - 
even when the person photographed is still living, that moment when he or she was has forever vanished. Strictly speaking the person who has been photographed - not the total person, who is an effect of time - is dead: dead for having been seen - Pierre MacOrlan -what then is his|her relationship to the it that surrounds - which is also dead for having been seen in that moment
- question this - death in context to a captured moment has too much finality - an unseen photograph is sleeping, and time suspended wakes on viewing - this is not death, it is viewed within the context of its own time - every moment photographed has the potential for immortality | mirrors - water - objects are all means of containing the subject within an indirect vehicle as a suggestive presence -a hand placed beside an object within its historical and environmental context - where the object has lived - is a dialogue between the person whose hand it is and the spatial stage it shares with the object - that this frozen capture by light suspends dialogue in an eternal loop - this is not death - this is life - is this a true understanding?
what is a true understanding? even when ones own work emerges as a slow comprehension into an intellectual space - mirrors - windows - camera frame - a great lie? or an alternate truth ? the social photograph - mundane adherence to a realist moment can be used as a vehicle to enhance the subtle surrealism of existence - the contrived photograph - staged movement within a conceptual context resolves drama of light and movement before and after the frame - critical disturbance of space and time - offering the possibility of space narrative within a frame connected by the gaps of sequentiality - simply being alive - ie animate in time takes one out of the fixing of time - ie death - that a photographic representation suggests - the invisible 'frame after' also does that - i propose - potential of the photograph like the dream - to suspend time and transform space - sequential narratives - cinematic - figure holding a mirror infront of their body - different figure reflected - a duplicate visual proposal - movement within that secondary framing? cinematic is cohesive narrative - J is perfect for the tanneries because his insertion into location gives the place a voice - or gives voice to spirit of place about to vanish -hanging suit in the factory as a closing statement on the current series - does the dramatic quality of the holga work better than the subtle shift of the hasselblad - subject poised between presence and absence - undermining the stasis - cinematic sequential dictates the moment before and after the frame - in a still the physical presence of the 'filler frames' is not necessary it is merely a suggestion to the mind of the viewer - shape that disorganises organization - the subject becomes the way to forming a metaphor  - is the location the metaphor? with its history seeping or is it the subject within the location? displaced by chronological context - historical - or is it a combination of the unconscious intent the subject and the location combining to form the metaphor - bringing the past into the present.

Saturday, 4 April 2009

ecrasement du temps

what is the strength of it? - 'it' being? - you can only usewhat is there but the elements come together to create something else | le carre - the right convergence of pressures and misfortunes | at what point do you sacrifice the attention for the work? re- soth's last blog entry and johns comments regarding it - eventually the attention consumes the work | internet=emperor's new clothes | social photography? deep in the ordinary and bland, stripped of drama is another kind of drama perhaps - something slower | le carre - tomorrow was created yesterday echoes J's writing | EXTRAORDINARY RENDITION | if there is something genuine in the work and that is what you are trying to find and express, then you have to hone in on that and pursue it otherwise it just gets lost to a virtual audience | he has always risked himself opining the truth of the work as he sees it | the whole world is a crock of shit run by the barons of hypocricy | the smudge - land on the horizon | haven't seen rain like this for years, dark enough late mornings imitate dawn, some hope in slices of light. torrential Marquez rain, a cigarette parenthesis in silence, floods on the land reach the sea. framed images on the wall reflecting windows, the next steps. floods and torrents - 3 days or 100, rain thickens and expands time | check the lottery! | a person scattered in space and time, is no longer a woman but a series of events on which we can throw no light, a series of insoluble problems - m proust | is photography neutral? documentary - social photography haunts the hollow space of objective recording and yet that neutrality in itself is subjective in selection | the before and after moment - is it necessary to eliminate it? or is it the exploration of this non space? [after a lengthy period of heady impatience in the pursuit of result - to produce evidence of learning and vision - i'm impatient to take pause] | i am a reflection photographing other reflections, it is a melancholy truth that i must always fail. to photograph reality is to photograph nothing - duane michals - a failed attempt to photograph reality 1976 | the relationship between the mark and the surface - not stealing the place sculptors house - stealing the memory of the place - the pursuit of decay = gothic? decay and the enviroment of history, memory contained in buildings - what is its balance within the contemporary? if it is merely a recording it proposes nothing but the dialogue of abandoned objects - each one a composit of someones history or lack of - every enviroment + objects is a composit of someone's history | the fixing of time in a photograph - ecrasement du temps - erasure of time - a photographs capacity in dealing with available realities