There seems to be a consensual assumption around here that these images are “just” photographs or even worse, “just photoshopped” photographs.
And if the wider world is seeing the same things then I’m going to have to find a way to eloquently and succinctly describe how these images are made — because that’s the point: they aren’t photographs, they’re totally artificial, made, collaged and constructed.
You go for a walk … well, I go for a walk … over the moor or along the shore, wherever, and the experience of seeing, looking, is so deep and rich and very very complicated; in the same way that flavour is so much more than what’s going on in your mouth, on your tongue.
Attention darts around, backgrounds are edited out or blurred, scale is all pretty flexible, perspective without a point, the geological name for this mineral or the latin name for that plant flavours the smell of it, the feel of it, everything has a history and there are all the stories I’ve ever read or heard, not to mention the one I’m trying to tell.
And then I take a photograph.
And the result is … well, it’s an aide-memoire, a reference, but it’s flat, inert, mute, almost useless.
However deeply you interrogate it, it will not engage, tell you a story, take you back.
Might it be possible to gather them together, conjure up more of the feeling of being there by painting with the photographs, reflecting the way we construct our view of a scene from a flickering net of captured moments, details stitched together into a virtual three dimensional stage set in our heads?
Playing with the indexical objectivity “lie” that photographs have always told but keep the playing obvious at the same time, faking it, for real.
Building a stage in front of you.
Well, in this story no-one’s ever quite sure what is real.
So the illustrations need to have a slightly fugitive quality too … mirroring that dozy few minutes after waking but before I’m fully alert, trying to hold on to dream images as they slip and slide back below the oily surface into the abyss. Fix them.
Oh the terrible irony of it: I’ve started to print out these crude, lo-rez images onto lovely glossy photo paper and they’re beautiful.
Which is a little like listening to the gorgeous gritty analogue crackle of a hyperdub vinyl disc on high end audio equipment … hmmm … do that too.
Is that pretentious or just another sort of baroque horror vacui?