Getting away from the noise of the city and replacing it with the noise of the open landscape. This noise has a harmony and place to it within the greater context of the music of the world than the sounds of the city, which can be harsh and jarring. Noise has been something I have been noticing more over the past few years. I am not sure why. While I love photographing in cities and seeing how they change and grow, I also find I dislike their inharmonious clatters, rumbles, bangs and booms. Give me the meditative rumble of an ocean, or the sound that twilight makes as it seeps into the world, or the birdsong of a quiet forest, and of course the sound of chirping Crickets under serious Moonlight. Quiet is often underrated. But I think we also build up a tolerance to the noisy noisiness around us where we live and should get out to appreciate some of the non-human sounds of the world more often too. Though I have noticed that we have a tendency to go into such areas and then proceed to fill them with our own sounds and noises nonetheless. So I make a habit to go to places like this whenever I can and make as little noise as possible and then appreciate as greatly as I can what I then hear.
There is a part of me that definitely prefers doing long exposures in black and white. I could say it is partially due to the colour shifts I get from filtering through stacked NDs, but I have largely wrapped my mind around those. No, my reticence comes from my frame of mind when I stop to make these types of images. One of the big reasons I do these long exposures is because of my interest or fascination with time. Often, but not always, time is what I am making a photo of here. Time is usually my subject. So when it comes to composing these images I generally think in terms of working to get rid of elements that don’t belong. And if I am building an image about time, I want to get rid of things that don’t relate, because if they don’t support then they distract. Often colour is not in this equation. It is easy to be enamoured of colour and to include it simply because you like it, but if the photo is not about colour. If it is about other things, such as time, then colour becomes a layer atop your subject that to some degree or another obscures it. So while colour is always tempting to add, I have to be careful to actually make images that make use of that colour as part of the message, thought, subject, what have you. I have to make sure that I want to direct some part toward that colour. So usually I don’t want the colour to be overtly important in these types of photos… it is not what I am trying to impart. But there are occasions where I want to mix colour and time. This is one of those occasions.
The goal isn’t the pictures… it isn’t even to make the pictures. The photographs just happen and are a by-product of what I am really doing.
But what exactly is that? I don’t know that I can adequately explain it. I suppose in a certain sense my pictures tell that story, but I think sometimes the audience tends to fixate on the picture itself, the artefact or object, and not the underlying reasons for that image’s existence. I don’t think I share images because I want to share the image. In a weird way I don’t really care about the picture. It is far less important to me than why I made the picture, and I suppose that is what I try to share when I share images. It is also why I am never quite comfortable accepting praise regarding the images I make. I appreciate the thoughts behind it, but it feels like it either misses the point that was driving me, or subverts the meaning of what I was doing slightly. If that makes any sense. There is something deeply spiritual for me when I stand there in ancient woods. I can talk about it, or write about it (as these are natural things to want to do when something moves you on such a level) but one of the other forms of communication I am effective at is photography, so it is also natural for me to want to communicate via imagery. The photograph is just the vehicle. But if you were to linger a bit more on the spiritual aspect of it, I could comment that the photograph is an idol of sorts, and the worship of an idol versus that larger entity which the idol represents… Yes, I know, it is all a bit out there and weird to describe it this way, but at the moment they are the best words I have to describe something whose description has long eluded me. I am not critical of enjoying a photograph, but at the same time I am aware that there is something much better worth admiring above and beyond that photograph. At least that is how I feel when it comes to my photographs.
These are the days, the time is now
There is no past, there’s only future
There’s only here, there’s only now
and the causalities of winter.
I saw this open window making sure that I knew where to look. In truth, I was trying to look everywhere as it was a beautiful spot to be. So I appreciated this subtle direction as to where I should focus.
Nothing’s going to happen unless you take a risk
Bonjour postie. If only you knew the excitement you bring when you hand over a parcel with this logo.
David Copperfield may be impressive being able to make it seem like the Statue of Liberty disappeared, but it is always more impressive when Nature makes things disappear because she is not any more intimidated by size. Be it a mountain, a bridge, …or the whole sky, she does it with an ease that is spectacular and with a frequency that is stirring.
Being a film photographer I move a bit slower and am more concerned with the nature of delayed rather than instant gratification. Also, this image happened to be the first exposure on the roll, meaning I had to make it through another 11 shots to finish this up and even see this exposure. The notion of first exposures is a worthwhile one to explore. A higher-than-normal percentage of my favourite images tend to be the first or last exposures on a roll because I tend to lend more weight to the making of those photos. For example, I typically don’t load an empty camera, or empty film back, until I have a picture to make. That means when a roll of film does get loaded it is because I have enough of a purpose in mind to motivate me to load film. And the film that gets loaded is being selected for the first image it will be used to make. Along those lines, when I get to the last frame I really try to make that last exposure count. There is no better way to wrap up a roll of film than with an image you are excited about. Another way of approaching this is to go out without any spare rolls of film. I did this on this outing with my two Hasselblad backs, one of which is dedicated to colour and the other to b&w. I opted to not take any extra rolls of colour film with me and that back was on exposure 10, meaning I had only three shots remaining for an entire excursion. It is limiting but scarcity can also place greater value. With only three shots, or by waiting on my first shot of the roll, or the last shot, I am placing a higher-than-normal value on those exposures and because I do so, I tend to enjoy a higher-than-normal success rate with those images.
On October 17th, 18th, and 19th, in celebration of the 40th anniversary of “Heroes”, and in collaboration with Arts Brookfield and WNYC’s New Sounds Live, Jonathan Meiburg, Emily Lee, Sadie Powers, Lucas Oswald, and Josh Halpern (Shearwater and Loma) were the nucleus of an all-star lineup performing Bowie’s entire “Berlin Trilogy” of albums (1979’s Lodger, 1978’s “Heroes”, and 1977’s Low) at the magnificent Winter Garden Atrium at Brookfield Place in lower Manhattan.
Shearwater Manchester Nov 2012
Jonathan and David
Boys keep swinging. Me in my Hometown 1978
Sound and Vision Home 2019
Words without sound Feb.2019