A TEMPORARY ESCAPE !
Leave the confines of your interior space, step outside (only into the confines of your garden of course) Look up, If you are fortunate to be in the presence of trees, enjoy the complex fretwork of branch and twig the linear complexity gradually losing definition as buds burst, as leaves fill the intricate spaces.
Look up, the sky always present, in constant change, an horizonless source of pleasure. A challenge to photograph.
From 2005 to 2015 all of my photographs had been made in my domestic spaces, all of them in colour. My way of working in colour is in total contrast to my black and white practice. No precise control of process culminating in the pleasures of the darkroom, the fine print. Thirty five mm. colour negative film, processed by high street labs, first Jacob’s and later by Boots, the resultant en-prints sorted, sequenced and made into hand made books. My input confined to the moment of seeing, the pleasures of sequencing and the making of a book. (I will return to questions of sequencing and the handmade book in a later blog)
In 2015 I had been given a copy of ‘The Cloud Book’ by Richard Hamblyn and decided to spend a month making a ‘Cloud Diary’. So in November I began, planning to photograph every day in the area around my house. An urban cloud diary, no sweeping areas of landscape, no picturesque views of cloud capped mountains, but the T.V aerials, telephone wires and roof-tops of my local area. To be out in the peopled world with only my camera for company was strange, disconcerting. I felt a little furtive, very conspicuous! But persisted and slowly felt more at ease.
One word of caution: November is perhaps not the ideal time for such an enterprise, wet, cold, limited hours of daylight etc. In the ‘I’ newspaper of 5th. December I found this text:
‘Britain endured it’s dullest November for 86 yrs. The
Met Office said yesterday. Based on provisional statistics
there were just 36.6 hours of sunlight recorded – just under
two thirds of the long term average’
Rainfall was heavy too!
The set of four 'Cloud Diary' books
Then a return to the domestic, to the more limited horizons of my garden, how, or if, to continue the cloud work?
I decided to make a series of five exposures, camera on a tripod, made at one minute intervals, charting the shift in the clouds in that brief period of time.
The results were interesting, and it confirmed the sky as a source of practice. My interest not in the single image but in a series, exploring subject, light and the passage of time.
Three proposed pages for the 'Five Minute Cloud' book
The sky is of course a subject which has a long history in photography, from the ‘Equivalents’ of Alfred Steiglitz to the beautiful ‘Sky Book’ of Richard Misrach and many more.
Look up, enjoy the space, the freedom!
Enjoy the thoughts of Clarence John Laughlin:
“One of my basic feelings is that the mind and the heart alike, of the photographer must be dedicated to the glory, the magic, and the mystery of light. The mystery of time, the magic of light, and their interrelationships - are my constant themes and preoccupations.”
Take care,stay safe!