I never got tired of wandering with camera, I thought it would always be this way. How wrong I was. I spent the best part of yesterday trekking to National Portrait Gallery, London, and back. Then today another gallery in Leeds to look at some important work I would like to get involved in.
As always when I am out with camera I was buzzing once there. I loved every moment of taking these, of simply being and so much interest and beauty to capture. I enjoyed seeing the portraits as part of the Taylor Wessing Portrait prize exhibition and the added bonus of some Anthony Gormley’s watercolours.
But then the London trip involved being sat on a coach for three and a half hours each way, the rush of the underground with steps (I’m currently disabled), and the sheer effort of getting from a-b complete with heavy gear. I was completely worn out.
Achy and in a lot of pain in Leeds today I was late for the talk I was attending.The people traffic at the station was immense and I got stuck at a ticket gate.
I pushed on anyway and was lucky enough to still meet the curators of the ‘Dying Matters’ exhibition. I still had an interesting conversation, but it was rushed, i was in pain and flustered by this point. They could probably tell. The pictures I got are dark and foreboding, even they show how I was experiencing the world when I took them.
A friends shared a link to a documentary video called ‘one last frame’ by Norwegian artist Niels Windfeldt.
Essentially the conversation is about the magic, specialness or consciousness of photography becoming lost in the ‘obsession’ of just taking pictures. Although beautiful and thought provoking it triggered a heavy doubt in my mind about my own work.
This is where I get demotivated and wonder what it is all for and about. If my passion is photography or image making and it becomes or is just an obsession does that mean that I lose the focus, the raison d etre for having my camera with me and going to these places? Do I make these images for myself, and only myself, obsession and all, or do I make them to share with the world, take them or leave them?
The smallest of adventures these days is such a physical challenge. Is there any point?
A day on, a sleep later and a chat with the friend that shared One Last Frame and I am sitting easier with this doubt a little bit.
My images are my search for personal truth and meaning. I see the world in my own unique way and sometimes I take pleasure in sharing it even if it goes nowhere or does not get appreciated by others. This is why I love photography.
Photography has brought me closer to people, closer to places and closer to understanding myself and my personal values. If that is all it ever does then it has been worthwhile. No matter how much of a challenge the process becomes.
My one last frame will be the one right in front of me when I leave this world silently. And that is ok.
In Tenebrous (Latin for ‘darkness within’) is a conceptual portfolio containing eight images.
Each image represents a different inner quality or frustration. They are not passing judgement nor a sympathy card, but simply a reflection of what is going on internally.
So often what concerns us is outward appearance. This is particularly true in photography where even modest beautifying adjustments are standard. However, I really wanted to reflect on the private inner face, a portrait of the spirit if you like. Sometimes it is visible sometimes it is not.
The images are framed almost entirely in black with illumination in the form of LED lights placed around the edges, as though casting light. The intention is that the images should be viewed in a dark space. I want the viewer to feel as though they are seeing something normally hidden or out of sight. This is a private exploration therefore each image calls for dignity and privacy.
I would hope that through photography I can start to show more things as they really are, no one is without their In Tenebrous.
I see the window as a barrier between the inner and outer worlds.
In dream interpretation buildings often represent the soul. The eye is also said to be a window to the soul. The window is the pathway through which light travels from outer to inner worlds.
It’s not just the window that separates inner and outer worlds, there is also the camera lens and then my physical eye. Eye, camera and window, each of these images has resulted in light having to travel through three layers.
As a photographer I capture frames and windows mostly when my inner world is in chaos or I am feeling low. There is a melancholy with these images, like the outer world is somehow locked away, out of reach, but that is ok. For the moment I am secure and protected. These images represent a reminder that the world continues to have blue sky somewhere.
As I Go Silently I occasionally take a step back, reflect and take stock, whether it be to shelter from a storm or just be alone with my thoughts for a little while. To me these images are a reflection of my time spent seeing with my Third eye, a time when I needed to be was focused inwards but with a reminder that light would return.
The outer world continues to be beautiful until such time as I can go be with it again.