Journal - 2021
I won a prize!
I have been doing more drawing recently and decided to take part in Wolverhampton’s “Paint the Day” on 24th July. The challenge was to produce an image within a single day. The pictures were displayed in an exhibition and I was pleased, and surprised, to find out that I won the award for the best canal picture.
(27th July 2021)
Moby featuring Mindy Jones - Heroes
From Moby's new album "Reprise".
I just love this version of “Heroes” by Moby and Mindy Jones. It’s quite different to the Bowie original, but every bit as good. The first time I heard it, it made me feel quite emotional, almost tearful. I think this version would have stood up magnificently on its own, but side by side with Bowie’s it's masterful. There is a real art, that few manage to achieve, to producing a cover version that genuinely compliments the original.
To me, Bowie’s original sounds youthful and raw, a cry for freedom, full of the essence of Berlin during the Cold War, prior to the fall of the wall. Moby’s version is very much 21st Century, born of the dystopian future of technological domination and climate change that we now find ourselves in. It is smooth and sophisticated, a more worldly wise and plaintive cry for freedom. It is beautiful; we could be heroes.
(5th June 2021)
On representing others
I saw an interview with a photographer. He talked about being in Australia and asking an aboriginal individual to remove his Toyota T-shirt so that he could photograph him in his tribal body paint. I wasn’t there and I don’t know the photographer’s motivation or thought progress, and I didn’t see the interaction between the two individuals, but it did make me think.
Why does someone in tribal body paint make a preferable image to that person wearing a Toyota T-shirt? The tribal paint is something that a western viewer is possibly less familiar with, and therefore possibly makes for a more “interesting” image. The T-shirt could possibly tell a story of how someone from a race we may perceive as being “traditional” is actually just as modern as anyone else in the country. Maybe the photographer could have taken a pair of images showing the individual in both tribal paint and modern clothing, would that have told a more thought provoking story? Maybe the photographer could have asked the this person how he would like to be photographed? Maybe the photographer had this discussion with them, but never mentioned it in the interview.
When we take photographs of other people, we make decisions that can influence that way the viewer perceives the subject, that is a responsibility that should be respected.
Do we have a right to create images of others without their informed consent, and giving them the opportunity to be involved in the creative process? I’m not suggesting there is a right or wrong answer, but it made me think.
(11th April 2021)
Graiseley Hill portfolio
I’ve been making good progress developing a portfolio folder for the “Graiseley Hill” series. Once I have ironed out a few last issues I will be putting it on sale as a limited edition, which will include a set of prints and a booklet. Let me know if this is something that you are interested in, or if you have any thoughts or ideas.
(22nd February 2021)
The War on Drugs - Thinking of a place
This is a piece of music I keep coming back to.
(17th February 2021)
The value of physical objects.
Recently I’ve been thinking about the way I listen to music. I have a collection of CDs, and I’m torn. Should I carry on with them, should I go down the minimalist route, streaming or downloading, or should I go back to vinyl?
In the same way, my photography is completely digital now, I haven’t developed a film or produced a darkroom print for many years. I’m all for moving away from materialism, but I think there is a risk that we are forgetting the value of a physical object.
This has made me think more about the importance of producing prints and folios. There is something about holding a physical photograph that can’t be replicated by the best screen in the world. The weight and texture of the paper, the way the light falls on its surface. The sense of occasion, even theatre, of sitting down with a curated collection of images. There is something about a limited edition hand crafted folio of images that has a unique value in an increasingly digital world.
I could easily get prints made, there are plenty of on demand printing services, but I feel a passion for what I am doing. I want to use my creativity and skills to produce the final object. I want to be in control of the whole process from creating the image to producing the final piece, that way the end result is a truly unique piece of work.
(7th February 2021)
On deleting photographs
At the end of the day I look at my camera, there are hundreds of photos on the memory card. Then I look at my computer hard drive, there are almost 80,000 photographs stored there. I think about deleting some of them, do I need to keep that many?
It’s not that the hard drive isn’t big enough, it’s that I can’t get my head around that many images, many of which I know I will never look at again. I hover between the desire to declutter, to get rid of things that aren’t necessary, and the fear of losing something forever.
What do we lose when we delete an image?
There are occasionally times when I browse through old photographs, it reminds me of things that I did, places I went, people I met. I know some of these are things I would not have otherwise remembered. In the same way, a shelf of books I have read reminds me of their contents, even if I know I will never read them again. I am scared that if I clear them out I will forget. The memories may still be in my mind but nothing will remind me to remember.
Does it matter?
Our memories help us to define who we are. When we declutter, the choice of what we throw out, which images that we delete, is an act of deciding who we want to be. The decision to have a clear out is in itself an act of deciding who we want to be, are we someone who looks back or forward?
Perhaps our perspective changes as we get older. When we are young we have less past and fewer memories, the future stretches out as far as we can see. As we get older memories accumulate and we begin to realise that the future is finite. We can become increasingly defined by what has happened in the past and less by what we want the future to be.
But we can always make a choice. We can choose how we balance letting go of the past, focussing on the here and now, working on the future, finding new sources of inspiration, staying hungry, but also valuing what has gone before, and what has brought us to where we are now.
(10th January 2021)
Jaimee Harris - Red Rescue
I love this song, especially the beautifully sensitive violin playing. Music is such an important source of inspiration, definitely the boost I needed for the New Year.
(5th January 2021)