Two Heads (provisional title) - I Ching photography

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I used paper developer for the film, and later printing the negatives.

I used paper developer for the film, and later printing the negatives.

More than a decade ago I landed up with a roll of film with one friend’s name on who I have not seen for a long time, which came to my possession after another friend passed away, to whom she must have passed on the film. Ben Parker had been a friend in photography, a lively soul full of energy, verve and humour, and his premature death was a shock to all of us. His mum must have given me the 1 metre roll of film when I went round there to pass on my condolences. She asked why his last photos of a trip to Africa were so poorly composed compared to the very capable work he had done previously. I suppose he was going through the motions.

I had the little cases to put the film in, but never did. Partly because it’s a difficult job involving cutting and rolling film in a dark bag that I have never done (but I could have looked it up). Mainly because I couldn’t think what to put on those negatives. Some sort of tribute? Perhaps. but what?

I realised the need for collaboration. Anything I could photograph would be insufficient. So I turned to an oracle. The I Ching - the Chinese book of changes. It is an ancient text that gives insights into the changing situations of life. It involves throwing three coins six times for an outcome of a hexagram, a symbol which has connected with it one of 64 interpretations, or explanatory paragraphs.

The first thing I did, was to empty all the negatives in the sink. There the whole roll lay, exposed in the dark, waiting for a brief flash of light to fall on the winding timeline of the film, which resembled video film more than photography film in its expanse. Now fogged by a light turning on for a moment and turning off again I poured on developer, stirred, and rinsed and fixed them, deliberately poorly so they could still react after the random images of the fogging could be set. I then put them on the clothes line and left them there for a month or two while I thought of what to do.

The I Ching gave me a set of ‘rules’ which I applied to the photographs.I threw the coins, while thinking of my friend, wherever he is, through memories of art college trip to Paris, the Chinese restaurant, playing Grand Theft Auto in his mum’s basement.  The coins said to make 25 images.  I cut and numbered a portion of the negatives 1-64 for each hexagram and threw the coins again to see which images to print. If it was a changing hexagram, I printed two images. I was given a changing hexagram for the exposure and tossed a coin to see which to apply to which - either one image or two. The shorter exposure sided with the single image. I cast for f stops for single and sandwiched images.

The I Ching gave me a set of ‘rules’ which I applied to the photographs.I threw the coins, while thinking of my friend, wherever he is, through memories of art college trip to Paris, the Chinese restaurant, playing Grand Theft Auto in his mum’s basement.

The coins said to make 25 images.

I cut and numbered a portion of the negatives 1-64 for each hexagram and threw the coins again to see which images to print. If it was a changing hexagram, I printed two images. I was given a changing hexagram for the exposure and tossed a coin to see which to apply to which - either one image or two. The shorter exposure sided with the single image. I cast for f stops for single and sandwiched images.

The first six prints, produced by following the instructions of the I Ching. These images are. close to randomness or naturalness as was possible. They are portraits of nothing(ness).

The first six prints, produced by following the instructions of the I Ching. These images are. close to randomness or naturalness as was possible. They are portraits of nothing(ness).

husk - sculptural experiment

I envisaged a hollow sphere made out of solid wool.

This is how I am trying to make it.  With a large, round balloon and wool dipped in mortar (cement and water).  I tried it today without any ballast and am waiting for it to dry properly.  It's been a damp day, but I'll have a look in the morning.  

"How Can That Be It?" Joint Exhibition with Johnny Burrage: Private View Saturday 15th April

Since last year Johnny and I have been scheming a joint exhibition titled "How Can That Be It?" Involving objects too intervened with to be readymades, but utilising found elements too prominently to be conventionally classed as sculpture.  Surely a sculpture involves casting bronze, or hewing wood?  There should be some sculpting, yes?  Not necessarily.  By fusing disparate but relatable elements one can create new meanings.  I enjoyed hearing people's interpretations of what the sculptures might mean, and seeing people trying to decipher the automatic drawings.  It was fascinating to get different people's interpretations.  I felt grateful that the show was so well attended and that people seemed to genuinely enjoy looking around.  We wanted to keep a spirit of fun that is sometimes absent (and often quite understandably) from exhibitions.  

Amsterdam Observations

I took a trip to Amsterdam with a group from Hereford College of Art.  We stayed at the cheerfully basic Hans Brickner Hotel which makes a feature out of a flaw with it's advertising campaign "Now a door in every room" and such things.  We went to the Staedelijk gallery and feasted on loads of modernist art and saw some Mondrians in their natural environment.  We met the charismatic Orion Maxted, a performance artist who explained the use of systems in his process.  Also Berndnaut Smilde whose amazing indoor clouds and other photographic interventions inspired and intrigued.  Apart from the first day when it was raining quite a lot, I had my SLR with me to capture some of the architecture and happenstance situations as they appeared before us.  I enjoy travelling to European cities, I hope it's not going to become too much harder to do so.  It's reinvigorating to explore somewhere different from the everyday environment of home.

Hello

Hello and welcome to my new website.  It's a place to catalogue and showcase a variety of work.  I have often straddled the gap between fine art and design, and am interested in writing, DIY publishing, mark-making, painting, photography, video, and installation.  I have enjoyed collaborating with other artists in the past and would be open to doing so in the future.  If you want to get in touch about buying prints or originals, want to commission a work, or need assistance with print design, photography or copywriting, get in touch on my contact page... (The photo is from a recent first trip to Stonehenge.  I tend to document daily life in various ways and will be blogging here.)

Hello and welcome to my new website.  It's a place to catalogue and showcase a variety of work.  I have often straddled the gap between fine art and design, and am interested in writing, DIY publishing, mark-making, painting, photography, video, and installation.  I have enjoyed collaborating with other artists in the past and would be open to doing so in the future.  If you want to get in touch about buying prints or originals, want to commission a work, or need assistance with print design, photography or copywriting, get in touch on my contact page... (The photo is from a recent first trip to Stonehenge.  I tend to document daily life in various ways and will be blogging here.)