A light goes on in Arles

The decision to go to Arles this year was made very late. I had felt for some time that I should go back, but wondered when it would be. Maybe the idea was prescient, as I have come to a place in my project where I can see clearly what work I need to do and the outcomes that I feel I need to achieve including aesthetic decisions. I have always felt that once I ‘knew’ which way to go it would be easy to comprehend it and therefore follow it through. light entrancec2

Some things don’t change

I’m aware that things may alter/change/become modified but the intent of the work is fairly well defined – I have a clear idea of what work I need to do – and I have sent an email describing those ideas to Sharon for her comments, though I suspect as it is holiday time her response may come in a couple of weeks or so, but I will continue. I will describe my ideas and plans after that response and commit them to the project. I am excited about the prospect. It may be that I would have come to this set of ideas about the work independently of the trip to Arles, but I can’t help feeling that being immersed in the city has helped to progress the situation that had become stuck fast.

Waiting room on platform 1, Arles railway station.

The Arles experience this year was mixed for me. The Ateliers have been reduced to a very much smaller event than when I was there two years ago, the organisers have improved the viewing experience and some of the ‘sheds’ now have air-conditioning, but what it gained in ‘ease’ it seemed to lack in gravity. The Atelier des Forges had a large work based on the album cover and after I ceased to try and see how many of my own record sleeves I recognised, I wondered about the contrivance of art and the commercial, a bit like ‘fashion photography’ in many ways. And saying this isn’t meant to denigrate it, but I feel a lack of depth as opposed to a great deal of depth of professionalism. Good to see editing decisions, but I felt that the size of the show might have been influenced by what appeared to be some sort of sponsor-shipping, maybe I am wrong.

Inside the “Grande Halle”

I quite enjoyed this series of works by Robert Zhao Renhui who must surely have been influenced by Joan Fontcuberta, asking the reader fundamental questions about the ‘real’, but so beautifully constructed – his miniature frogs were very difficult to see however.

Ambroise Tezenas’ work “I was here. Dark Tourism” was one that I enjoyed greatly. Asking serious questions about the nature of catastrophe and voyeurism and commercialisation of tragedy. There were other interesting works in the Atelier, but nothing that really jumped out at me, and a few lowlights as well. The Ateliers were perhaps a defining component of the festival, they have been irrevocably changed. light framec2

A view across the Atelier development

In the Grande Halle – seemingly a lot of space unfilled…

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Part of Majolli and Pellegrin’s work entitled “Congo” in the ‘Magasin Electrique’ (Atelier)

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Workers looking at an issue on the floor in the ‘Facades’ by Markus Brunetti in the Grande Halle which was supposed to question our perceptual relationship with reality – it appeared more to me to be about technical proficiency and the ‘unreal’. The ‘book’ seemed to be occupying more of the stage at Arles with new awards and a significant increase in the items on display. However I think that there needs to a radical retying about how these books are curated for the viewer. Long treacle table at just over knee height in the sweltering heat with no conception on genre or subject left me bewildered about where to look, or even to start to look. Volumes that I recognised, that I thought might lead to volumes of a similar or related subject was a misconception. One either waded through risking a back-ache and a slowly cooked body or flipped randomly through with a hope that something might turn up. Like going to a library and stumbling on a reference, and whilst serendipity can work, in this atmosphere one needed a great deal of stamina to stick at it.

And so what took me two full days the last time I came took me less than a day. There seemed to be a lot of space in the Ateliers, like this one above which had a show before. I wonder what this new development will bring, if anything to the future of Arles.

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I found the whole concept of Parr’s work confusing. The show was held in Eglise des Freres Precheurs where I had seen Alfredo Jaar’s work two years previous, one artist moved me the other didn’t. The fashioning of a concept which wasn’t clear to me didn’t help me to come closer to what Parr’s work is. I know I am missing a point, but the coupling of some quite surreal electronic music to each of the installations moved me away from the work instead of helping me to connect with it. It advertised over 500 images – I suppose eighty per cent were digitally projected. An absolute highlight was the work by Dutch artist Alice Wielinga whose work “North Korea, a life between propaganda and reality” was a delight. Beautiful imagery set in a film, structurally a documentary but offering many narrative motifs on truth and reality both contrived and ‘real’. I watched the film through a couple of times and would do so again, there was so much to discover. Wonderful. Wielinga’s work contrasted with a major exhibition in the Place de la Republique, that being “Another Language” in the Eglise Sainte-Anne, where last I saw a large retrospective of Sergio Lorrain.

Eikoh Hosoe’s work spoke to me of a crisis of identity, a theme which I felt echoed across a few of those eight Japanese photographers and one which I felt lacked a little in imagination. Two of the photographer’s had very similar imagery – dense over-processed, difficult to discern prints – and one which didn’t stand much comparison to the Japanese work at the ‘Together, Forever” show from ‘The Collection of the Maison Europeenene de la Photographie’ which had Moriyami, Shibata, Tomatsu, Sugimoto and others and one of the ‘laugh out loud moments for me when someone did this:

Couple HCB with Parr, not once but, I think, four times! This exhibition from the archives had some great prints and whilst the show was conceptually weak I don’t think that was the point – the prints were wonderful and diverse.

From Klein, Leiter, Callaghan, Close, Brassai and a lot of others. Another site which had a selection of ‘Greatest Hits’ was the Musee Reattu which had: “Daring Photography 50 years of avant-garde collection in Arles”. Though I’m not sure about Ansel Adams and Edward Weston in that list, but it was nice to see some Sarah Moon prints along with Kertesz, Klein, Plossu, HCB (again), Man Ray, Strand and others. Two heavyweights at the festival were undoubtably Evans and Shore. Walker Evans’ show focussed on his magazine work, and whilst it was interesting to see the images, some i had seen before in other places, this curation did nothing to dispel the obsessive nature of his documentary work and this influence was, I think, cleverly echoed in the exhibition of Stephen Shore’s work who has noted Evans as a big influence – but then so many have. Shore’s exhibition was of a size that would have similar in scale to some of the retrospectives two years ago, but in this years festival almost stood out for its size and scope. A good deal of Shore’s various phases were on show, from the early monochrome work through to colour, back to mono and a return to colour. My view of Shore is that he, along with the master Evans, personifies the notion of ‘do the work and find out what it is about later’. Though I can only say that my comprehension of his Montana sticks and stones work defies me, perhaps mostly because of their repressed aesthetic.. The walk along to the Evans’ show allowed the viewing of a curiosity of the festival which was the curation of a set of images, under the festival theme of ‘Odd Collections’ that depicted early photographic images of the Sphinx.

I suppose about fifty or so of them. A curiosity. I haven’t covered all that I saw, and haven’t covered Natasha Caruana’s work which had been awarded the BMW residency for this year very well which I thought was a highlight, so is the catalogue – much improved I think. I had a great time in Arles but I suspect it will be the last time I will go….

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Purgatory exhibition

 

The exhibition space at the South Street Gallery allows for two A4 size paper inserts. One is expected to describe the work – some kind of artist statement – and the other with pricing and contact information. I have decided to be guided on the statement by the Churchill exhibition staff, so about half of the words in the statement belong to them, this relinquishing of editorial control comes after the episode at the Nuffield where some of the work was required to be taken down. The staff had contacted me about the notion of Purgatory – not wanting it to be ‘morbid’ – and it is for that reason that I have included an excerpt from a OS pathfinder map to ‘situate’ it as a physical presence, though I do reflect on it’s psychological ‘space’.

A gift from a fellow traveller

I was thrilled to receive an email from a fellow student Stephanie D’Hubert recommending an essay that might have some relevance to the work that I am trying to make. The essay : “Photographically unconcealing the crimes: Christian Patterson’s Redheaded Peckerwood and Heidegger’s aletheia” by Emma Bennett of the University of Essex.

 

I have written about Patterson’s Redheaded Peckerwood here though not in any great detail, and another recent, more considered review here by Stephanie D’Hubert. It is a book that I still rate very highly and Bennett’s considerations regarding the idea of the exposition of truth are in accord with my own views regarding Patterson’s narrative flow – Bennett’s essay goes beyond an examination of Patterson’s narrative structure – something which I may come back to later. However reading the suggested essay (I have now purchased a copy) a thought struck me about how I can broaden the scope of the work that I am doing, whilst still remaining close to the essence of what the project is about. All along I have wanted to broaden the scope of the work, to introduce ways by which I could develop the discourse and whilst previous attempts haven’t worked as I would wish, by investigating them, it has continued to develop my thought processes.

Redheaded Peckerwood is a story, based on a true story, but nevertheless a fiction. Bennett poses the following question very early in her essay: “The question of photography’s truth is usually posed along the following lines: does the photo-graph offer an accurate image of what the world actually looked like at a specific moment?” The work on Purgatory isn’t about a specific moment and though a temporal component is going to be vital to the work, it is about how a relationship has/can shape a life. I have enquired about how I could introduce either a voice – my own (other than by visual imagery) or my father’s – into the work and I have failed to find a way that would allow that entrance which seams ‘real’. However this essay has made me think of another way, partly by its specific reference to Patterson’s work and by it’s academic discourse partly founded on the work of Martin Heidegger around the subject of ‘aletheia’, which isn’t, according to Bennett a direct translation of truth but of ‘unconcealing’. I need to research this a bit more, but it appears that Heidegger’s contention is that ‘unconcealing’ is about partial revelation, and in doing so allowing what is or has been concealed to be brought into view. ‘Unconcealing’ allows the notion of partial truth/s and promotes the inevitability that the didactic assertion of right and wrong to be distanced.

I see no elemental truth in my work, whatever sense there was of it has been mediated through the fallibility of my memory (and in this case members of my family), and the absence of a voice that might offer an alternate view – his. Therefore my assertion is; that narrative founded in what Bennett describes as Heidegger’s alitheia (concealment and, by consequence, unconcealment) is of a past that can never be tested. Bennett talks about Kendall L Watson’s much-discussed ‘Transparent pictures: On the nature of photographic realism’. Where Walton claims: ‘Photographs are transparent. We see the world through them.” – another reference to consider, but I like the notion that the opaqueness of a photograph has revelatory consequences and brings in-sight into the perspective of the image.

Bennett continues to discuss the ideas around truth in photographs and says this: “Redheaded Peckerwood (2011) thus situates at least some of its claims to truth beyond the transparency of the photograph….. More than this, the work as a whole is understood to say something truthful. The relation of one image to another must be considered as much as the individual transparency of each photograph.” And then this: “A single image can be read as making a statement about the world; of course, it may be more complex than my oversimplified example. But if a statement is brought, in a series, into contrast with another statement, then the truth(s) of photograph(s) are no longer exclusively within the image. They are also between the images”. I am painfully aware that I have an ambition to render a truth. In photographic aesthetics, I recognise that I want to create imagery in the in-between zones of 1 to 9 inclusively. The twin tones of 0 and 10 have no use for me as I feel no-one should lay claim to those twin territories and I would be extremely cautious of anyone laying claim to them as platforms of discourse. This realisation is a recognition I have that no absolutes to cloud my narratives. This fictional soup will never clear.

My thoughts are now to introduce/invite another voice, that of him, to a conversation that I couldn’t previously achieve, and to allow that discourse to happen in-between the images as much as in the individual images. The imagery that I hope to author may well fit Heidegger’s “unconcealment” but also in Bennett’s words: “We obtain truth not just from individual photographs, or just from our understanding of what they portray, but also from their context, their presentation and, importantly, their relation to each other.” Something I have heard a lot about recently. And again this in respect of context and narrative and the single image ; “A single image is at most a partial truth that points towards ‘the whole truth’ (if such wholeness exists).”

I fully understand that the underlying narrative in this BoW has been difficult to comprehend, as much for me as for any viewer to it, but I am becoming to get a real sense of what it is about and this essay has helped me clear my head about it. Thanks Stephanie.

 

In Sickness and in Health

Reproduced by kind permission of the artist Colin Gray

Reproduced by kind permission of the artist Colin Gray from the series “The Parents”

“This work is, in a sense, a preparation, helping me to face the deterioration, and the loss I have endured.” These words, which close the “eulogical” end of work statement to Colin Gray’s “In Sickness and in Health” struck a chord; as did “Looking at myself in the mirror I see a reflection of my father’s face. I see the history in my own future. This is a curious and rather frightening experience.” Steidl Mack, itself an interregnum in publishing history, published Gray’s work that depicts a short space in time in the record of the artist’s body of work on the single subject of his parents. The project “The Parents” formally began when Gray had access to a borrowed Hasselblad in 1980 and continued until his mother’s death in 2010. The book was published in 2011. There have been many bodies of works that deal with the passing of one parent or another, or even both, but not so many that come after thirty years or more of studying the same subject. It was at the “Family Ties” conference, where Gray presented this work, and where I met him and discussed his, and my own, work, when I had the sense of the scale of this work, with its concomitant requirements of collaboration, issues over ethics and the whirl-pooling of narratives that weave, one into another. The book is beautiful; Joby Ellis at Steidl Mack had worked on the design with Gray and I recognize that I have a heightened sense of awareness about editing and sequencing which clearly accompanied this ‘read’. All the images are the same size, they are all square – suggesting full frame Hasselblad and the self containment of narrative content. Solid white margins with no text whatsoever apart from page numbering. There are some white pages, indicative of punctuation; there is no introduction and, as I say earlier, an end-statement with, finally, the almost obligatory (but un-headlined, in this case) acknowledgement. Words therefore seem less important to this document, the imagery left to the photographs, no direction home in this tale about home, family, love and loss. Simply put, this is a beautiful rendering of familial love, care and nurture. The three individuals who share emanance in each frame – whether they are physically present or not – the parents and their photographer-son propel the narrative with lyrical, poetic, and at times, harrowing imagery.

Reproduced by kind permission of the artist Colin Gray

Reproduced by kind permission of the artist Colin Gray from the series “In Sickness and in Health”

There is a lot to be said about the sequencing that I mention earlier; colour tones, physical structuring, short and immediate narratives – no more than the two page spreads, continue to build the sense of the meta-narrative – which isn’t, in my mind, determined to be deeply intellectual, but deeply emotional. The sense of scale of involvement between the three protagonists – woven into a story about ‘oneness’ is visceral. It perhaps didn’t mean to set out to touch raw emotion, but it does nevertheless, by dint of the honesty by which all three entered into the project, those thirty-five years ago. It wasn’t inevitable that Gray would photograph his deceased mother, but his father ceded to his son’s wish for a short time with her in order for it to happen. Gray, I seem to remember him saying, had no formal plan to do so, but did so because of inertia. I wonder how the passing of the surviving parent will be dealt with. The loss that I endured marked an ending with his death, and it is this that I am still trying to elucidate. This work of Gray’s has helped me see further into what it is I have been trying to describe. It isn’t “about” an abusive relationship, though it was certainly that. It isn’t “about” pain, though there was certainly a great deal of that. It is “about” loss, an absence of love and remoteness from it that I have tried to overcome without having a reference for it. “About” choices made and consequences thereafter. Most everything else I have tried to do, around Purgatory in this last year, has been to try and steer a course away from it. Purgatory though has provided the base camp and will stay there, I need to plan more imagery.

More data

I only really had one opportunity this week to go to Purgatory, and of all the photographs I had planned, this one, which was not thought about at all, is one which I think is most interesting.

 

The these with a portrait I made yesterday. Pinned to the wall, the breeze helped I think.

I wanted to place the film strip in the frame as well, but the when the wind took it, it seemed to reveal too much.

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This appeals, though I sense it shouldn’t.

 

And then these:

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And so to imagery – updated

And so finally he makes an appearance. I scanned a number of negatives that I took soon before his death, some siblings wanted a memento of him, a memento mori.

I wondered about the image above, that it lacked a definitive sense of image and then added the margin below:

I plan to take him to Purgatory and photograph him in situ, to see what he looks like photographed (apologies to Winogrand).

 

Absence of presence

Introduced at the event as a ‘Study Day’ and suggested to me by Sharon as a conference, the “Family Ties Network: ‘Parental Concerns’” event on 3rd July was hosted in the Post Grad’ centre at the University of Bedfordshire – a fine facility despite the malfunction of the air conditioning on a very long warm and inspirational day.

‘Parental Concerns’ addressed on the day by three lens based artists: Colin Gray, David Jackson and Jill Daniels. Each presentation was followed by a Q&A session moderated by one of the organisers. Each work represented a very personal perspective of a view of ‘parents’. Each told stories that whilst I recognised, with their observed familiarity a disjunction to my own, and perhaps no more so than that of fatherhood. One of the first works cited was Peter Day’s “Pictures of my Father” where the author sought to uncover/recover his late father by visiting familial homes:

What I found was space like it had never been before: empty and excessive. A vast emptiness, open in the totality and tonality of its knowledge, infinite in form, ambiguity and some memory (often vague and just then recalled) of what was there in the nothing that was still there.” P7. And then:

Quite literally in the house, my father’s house, there was nothing. Nothing tangible of the events, no records, just nothing and no more – no more personal stories being created. Its emptiness was everything that once held the memories in its indefinite space. Here there is nothing left but space, an abstraction, this emptiness that has not been scooped up and disposed of but that somehow remains. And yet this is so real. Not one thing remains except the aberrations – the marks, the dust, and the dirt. The by-products of life that have no real value are created by this attrition of life itself. A quintessence of dust is described in the somewhere that there was; and that had been a man.” p12

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Colin Gray, the first speaker started taking pictures of his parents when he was five, but started the series “The Parents” in 1980. Twenty years later, and still part of the overall The Parents’ work he produced “In Sickness and in Health” which formed the final stage of the work. Gray presented and talked about images for more than an hour from the huge archive he has created, all of which appeared collaborative, many playful. A fellow artist remarked to me after his talk that she felt concerned about the ethics of this series, that the parents were depicted in a fiction not of their doing, unimagined by themselves but formed from another perspective; I was less concerned about that. The series ‘In Sickness and in Health” has been published by Steidl and – from his website: ”In Sickness and in Health” forms the final stages of “The Parents” series. Begun in 2000, it shows his parent’s deterioration and, ultimately, his mothers’ death. The hospital and church visits became more frequent, the ailments more serious, the drugs regime ever more complex. Whilst his father struggled with his new role as a carer, Gray found that his photographs helped make sense of the deterioration and loss he was experiencing. Having reached the age his parents were when he started the project, Gray now sees their history in his own future.”

David Jackson presented work on his relationship with his father; a film, a spoken narrative and still images. I am interested in narratives about the father son relationship and Jackson, like me, recognised that his work is as much about him as a son as it is about his father. This duality is matched in my own work inasmuch as my work is also about my role as father. Jackson discusses various texts on the subject of fatherhood and read a long quotation from the six volume autobiography of Karl-Ove Knausgaard on the same subject, where the son decides to accept something very unpleasant rather than admit to his father his frailty, something I recognised acutely; a sense of subsumed pain providing the agency of control in the relationship. Knausgaard’s tale ended well for son and father – at least in the episode repeated by Jackson. I found the narrative of Jackson’s film to be one of reclamation of his father into the family fold. His parents had left England to go to Malta, the mother’s childhood home and when she died the father felt no need to stay and wanted to return home. Jackson, seemed to want to record that ‘reeling him in, back to a familial place’.

Jill Daniels’ introduced her work – an hour long film on the subject of her parents – with a short introduction where she quoted Michael Renov from his book ‘The Subject of Documentary (Visible Evidence) “We are all lost in the chasm before our desire to recapture the past and the impossibility of a pristine return.” Which seems to suggest that whichever way we look at the past it can never reveal ‘the truth’. Daniels also suggests that ‘secrets keep families together’ which primes the viewer to concern themselves with addressing what that/those secret/s might or might not be. And, as in the nature of secrets, they can only be secrets if left un-revealed. The film hints at secrets and purposefully reveals others. The film is less pertinent to my own work, but I found it fascinating to consider, in that I sensed a need, by the artist, to shine a light on those long hidden secrets and in the post presentation discussion she hinted at yet more. During the making of the film her mother passed away leaving her with her father and we, the audience, become aware that some revelations now have no path to the light – that impossibility of any form of return, let alone pristine.

Whilst the artist Peter Day went in search of his late father and found him in the presence of his absence, I went to see my mother immediately after the conference and found only an absence of presence. I had wanted to find memorabilia of him to enable me to place him in the frame, to incorporate his presence into the narrative. The small purse of assorted cheap cuff-links and shirt studs were all my mother had of him in the bungalow she downsized to after he passed on. After my father died I was given three rings by my mother and a gold chain (I presumed this was a necklace, though I never remember him wearing one). I remember only two rings, both of which had to be cut from his fingers prior to cremation – where this third one came from I have no idea. It seemed profoundly odd that my mother must have cleared out a great deal of his ‘presence’ to leave such a tiny remnant behind, and why keep these? She doesn’t want them back – I won’t want to keep them. Looking around the sitting room that she now inhabits, there is one photograph of my parents together – celebrating a wedding anniversary alongside a press-cutting of the event. Other than that he is absent, other than in the memory

I now plan to create a way to take my father into the frame and into the land and one of the thoughts is to take these negatives and place them in the land to include him. These are the only photographs I have of him that I made, they were made as a request by two of my younger sisters who wanted a memento. We all knew at the time that he was bearing the brain timor that would claim him soon after these negatives were made. I seem to remember making a few, maybe two or three prints for sisters, nothing more. These latent images have now lain dormant for nearly twenty years; perhaps they will accompany me into Purgatory.

 

Unforgotten

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There were a couple of images that I made on that long hot walk from Purgatory that have been playing on my mind. I’m not sure why, but here they are. And by placing them here I will continue to think about them in a way that I wouldn’t if they were stuck in the ‘edit’ file I made after the walk.

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They remind me of a lot of work I did in Documentary – the trace of light – interesting for what they reveal and illuminate. I suppose I was drawn by the light but also the ‘marks’ left by the light and in the ‘physicalness’ of the pathway, the tracks that lead to Purgatory.

Purgatory heat

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I had seen “Clear of People’ by Michal Iwanowski in Penarth in 2014 and I had found it quite profound and moving, the re-telling/surfacing of an epic walk to freedom of his forebears – I wrote about it here. Jesse had suggested that I contact him to discover something more about his work, his strategy; but I had struggled to find a connection between that elegiac work and my own telling of a familial narrative which seemed, still seems, at variance with Iwanowski’s. But write to him I did a couple of days ago and he, very generously, responded with a reflection on what I had to say and some further context on his project.

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In a self confessed aberration in his essay on narrative Tim Carpenter adds the following almost as a footnote:

“To accommodate the growing number of artists, and the multifarious activities now loosely described as art, distinctions necessary to intelligent discussion have been obliterated. In the vast accumulation of conflicting opinion there is one unifying element: all of it is in words. The artwork no longer speaks for itself. It is ironic to think, as the words flow, that the photograph was once thought to speak a more concrete, less abstract language. The slogan was that it was better than a thousand words. Thousands upon thousands of words now encumber a quantity of photographs. This flowering of writing about photography, much of it readable, informative, and innovative, is the latest example of the current cultural mania to transform one thing into another, and eventually into words. To reside in one thing or another appears to be impossible. On the evidence, the thing itself – the person, the object, the painting, the book, the music, the sunset, the operation – exists primarily as a point of departure, a launching pad from which we take off into an orbit of our own . . . Photographs, photographs of all things, were once believed to offer a point of resolution. They offered a stop in the flow of time as well as in the endless stream of our responses. The observer looked. The photograph soberly returned the gaze.

The ambiguity that is natural to the photograph lends itself to conflicting interpretations, but if the viewer’s first impression is not the viewer’s own, he or she may never come to have one that is.”                  My italics.

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The decision to quote in full – from a much longer essay, more later – was to set the italicized sub-quote into context. And this follows some thoughts I have been having regarding what photography, as a form of expression – an Artform – is concerned with, inasmuchas it relates to this writer.

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When I watched Cig Harvey discuss her work, the notion that she made work about things and not of things, that she suggested to her audience – as I’m sure she has to her students – that limiting the surface of the image to be ‘of’ something reduces the opportunity for the reader to, as Carpenter writes: “the thing itself …[photograph] exists primarily as a point of departure, a launching pad…” suggesting that what the work is “about” is whatever/wherever/whenever the reader allows it to be. Carpenter also quotes the writer Elizabeth Drew: “Elizabeth Drew again: A poem has a living reality of its own: it is not religion or ethics or philosophy or sociology. The poet does not work upon listeners by providing beliefs or moral codes for them, or by outlining political, philosophical or economic systems. All these things may enter into poetry; but the poet is concerned with them only in so far as they can be related to his personal vision of human experience. The poet’s domain is the life of Man and the lives of men in their actions, thoughts and emotions, interpreted through the power of words. And readers and listeners of all ages have acclaimed poets, not because in them they have found human problems solved, but because through them they have found their capacities for living enriched and enlarged and their understanding deepened.” Substitute photographer for poet.

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Carpenter in the essay talks about “aboutness”, how an apparent story might be “about”, for example, the escape from a Russian prisoner of war camp; but as ‘read’ it might be ‘about’ something totally other. Is ‘True Detective’ for example about dysfunctional police officers, about vice and corruption, about politics and corruption, about the end of capitalism? Well yes, all of them but more, much more it is about how I, the viewer strive to string a flow from, perhaps, the entrails of its victims – plenty of those – into a narrative form that makes sense for me. I particularly liked the example Carpenter gives regarding Shakepeare’s Hamlet.

Iwanowski’s ‘Clear of People’ was about the escape of his forebears from a PoW camp in Russia, it was also about how the artist regained a lost connection with his past, with a part of his familial history. It was also a narrative about the changing face of Europe, it was also about a connection between man and land that perhaps overcomes Political strife. It was about many things. As I wrote about the work last year, it doesn’t have a starting point but does have a settling point, a destination and Iwanowski’s destination, seemingly, was a settlement with his past. I too am seeking a settlement but in a place that is now unsettled. Purgatory today was very warm and it will be a long search for images to fulfil whatever I want to say regarding what this project is about.