Ausschnitt, Excerpt, Extracto, Extrait, Estratto

I awoke today with a simple photographic task. Show a small excerpt of my morning during Lockdown. So I thought I would turn to the subjects I know I always can when in need of photographs.  I enjoy reminding myself that the expectations I have of what images I’ll make prior to picking up the camera versus what images I find once I start shooting can be two very different things. You never know exactly what you will find and often the best thing you can do is just let chance set you up for the rest.

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Stay Safe, Stay Strong. I will see you on the other side.

I Think

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I think a lot. Sometimes I think too much. This is the thought I generally have at about 1am when I am wrestling with busy brain syndrome and cannot fall asleep. Here are a couple of thoughts kicking around in my head at this nightly hour.

What one sentence would you pass on in the event of a cataclysm that contained the most information with the fewest words, what would I say? Or what image of mine would I single out?”

“Is creating art a response to our own knowledge of our mortality?”

“If time is a human construct, how would we abandoning it and how would that change the way we lived?”

“I wonder what the post will bring tomorrow.”

And the list goes on.

This is a very long-winded introduction to me saying that photography is where I try to think the least. I try not to put thought into my images but rather try to put my feelings or emotions into them. Put another way, I try to make images based on what I am feeling rather than what I am thinking. I don’t know if this is to give my brain a rest or to give me a rest from my brain. A bit of both I would guess.

For the most part this works really well for me. I have become good at disengaging from my thoughts while I am out photographing.  I don’t like listening to music while I photograph either because it affects how I feel, which then affects how I photograph. For me it is enough to be there in a moment responding to subtle currents within me that I will struggle with later to put a finger on.

In fact, this is where my problems usually arise: when I try to think about my photos after the fact and figure them out. Generally I don’t do this too much. The photos are not products of thought, but rather visual translations of moods or feelings passing through me in a particular place or at some particular time. Thought doesn’t typically enter into that equation and therefore makes for an awkward fit I have found when forcibly injected into it later.

Anyhow, even now I am applying more thought to this image than I should, but sometimes I find the thinking “out load” to be an effective means of getting it out of my head.

That and I do like doing the writing just for the practice.

So don’t fret if you cannot explain your photos, or if you worry about the perceived lack of thought in them. Some photos are meant to embody a great deal of thought, but not all images. It is ok to make images that cannot be so intellectually described or explained. It is ok to make images on hunches, feelings, intuition, or the like. And it is ok to not understand your own images after you have made them. In fact, I rather enjoy it at times – the mystery of it all.

So here you go. Hopefully nothing I said gets you to thinking too much and keeps you awake tonight.

Upstairs At Erics

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I remember when I first picked up a pinhole camera and started experimenting with its wacky style of seeing the world. I was and am curious and took in any pinhole photography I could find. In those early days I had one big influence: Eric Renner. Without Eric, I would have spent a lot more time stumbling around in the dark. Eric literally wrote the book on pinhole photography… several of them in fact. So I was saddened to hear that Eric passed away on April 9th. I spent a bit of time browsing through his collection of images, which he had been making since the 1970s remembering the incredible pinhole photographer who had been doing this longer than I care to remember.

Anyway, this seemed an appropriate Renner-esque pinhole image to honour the man who did so much for the advancement of pinhole photography. Travel on well Eric.

Days Of Future Past

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Every year at Eastertime we make the short trip to the beach. But not this year. Looking at this old photo now is kind of seeing a scene from a science fiction novel. As a rapidly spreading virus  takes advantage of immensely ingrained social behaviours to spread widely throughout the population. I haven’t yet finished this story, so I cannot yet tell you how it ends.

The New New

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I made these photos back in March, late in the afternoon and the sun was quickly setting. It was bright and warm and just about a perfect end to a day. There was a low level of anxiety in the air as the COVID-19 pandemic was really beginning to grow but had not yet reached the point where daily life was noticeably impacted. I remember those two things clashing together though, the relatively idyllic nature of the afternoon and the darker undercurrents of fear, uncertainty and anxiety about what would come next when that warm sun set and the night brought the next day.

Looking back that afternoon seems ages ago. In some ways life hasn’t changed at all, in other ways it is completely different. And I wonder how long things will remain different even once they have returned to one definition of normal or another.

I do take comfort in the notion that time is not as linear as I think it is. These images remind me that at some point in time there is a version of me standing there in the warm light of afternoon, smelling spring and enjoy the quiet end to a quiet day.

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