Research: Images of Dreams

5th – 11th February 2018. Arts University Bournemouth

I love the library at Arts University Bournemouth; it’s amazing. It’s now a weekly ritual to go there on a Saturday (my youngest son is on the film making course), have some tea and then head to the library for a few hours.

This week I looked at Eugene Atget Photographe De Paris as recommended in the course text.

I looked again at Paris by Night by Brassai. There was a quote by Paul Morland that I took down as part of thinking about A4: “Night is not the negative of day…..  another picture altogether emerges at nightfall. At that hour a twilight world comes into being, a world of shifting forms, of false perspectives, phantom planes.”

I took a look at Cardiff After Dark by Maciej Dakowicz which was interesting. I wasn’t shocked at what I saw; I find it difficult to think that anyone who ever goes out into any city centre at night would be. But it was about looking at the way artificial light is used in that context because the images are really powerful and the use of artificial light is paramount here.

I love Sally Mann. I had never seen her work before but for me the aesthetic is beautiful. I was fortunate that they had both Immediate Family and Still Time in the library.  Immediate Family was something I found difficult. I have children and I have taken photographs of them running around naked in the summer when they were toddlers. But the photos in Immediate Family were more intimate and were taken at a much older age than I personally found appropriate; there is a level of intimacy involved that would be inappropriate in my family and culture. Having watched this interview with Sally Mann and her children I understand that she grew up in a different type of environment and that makes the meaning behind the images very different. I liked Still Time – The Dream Sequence. It seems relevant to what I want to do in terms of using light and in terms of subject so that was really a lucky discovery; I have continued to look into that work online. I also looked at her landscapes and ended up on this page. The quote there on this work; “You are destroying this site with stuff like that”. I really like the quality of image that she produces and I would love to try using the same process one day.

Twice by Helen Sear was one that I just picked out but had no idea what it was. I originally picked it up thinking it might be about multiple exposures. It was full of portraits that have been so altered that the eyes are just these blank, black circles – there are no highlights or anything which makes them feel really odd. It’s based around double negative and layering techniques. The landscapes are great too – the way animals are used they become the land part of the landscape.

Time/Motion by Jonathan Shaw. I think my favourite sequences from the book were the ‘Guide to Ecstacity’ set. I don’t recall having come across the idea of synchronous photography before – images from different viewpoints at the same moment. I would quite like to try it.

I found a book that I will admit I  picked up entirely because of the cover and wasn’t sorry that I did. It was The Photography of Nature / The Nature of Photography by Joan Fontcuberta. I liked it so much I wanted to buy it, but it’s £350 on Amazon so I think I’ll just have to make do with reading it bit at a time in the library. It raises interesting questions about the truthfulness of photography. I think for me it’s also tangentially relevant because there is a question about reality, dream reality and truthfulness in images. I can’t explain that, but it’s an idea that has come up a few times this week as I realise that my mum’s illness makes her reality fundamentally different from the reality that everyone else agrees on. I almost wonder if I put a camera in her hands then would the reality she could record with that camera be a different reality from the one I see? If it was then what would it look like? I have been watching the series Inside No.9 and there are several episodes where reality has altered for the people involved. I found this so disturbing that I was genuinely distressed by one episode. I realised that it is because I have a deep fear of loosing a grip on reality and not seeing it the same way that everyone else does. But since starting EYV part of me wants to be able to see a different reality from others; isn’t that what a photographer or artist does? Maybe to see things differently, almost in more detail and almost, in terms of being able to communicate and simplify, in less?

I wish I had seen Rut Blees Luxemburg before I went to London a few weeks ago. I had  taken some images of reflections in wet pavements at night. I really like images from the series Piccadilly’s Peccadilloes.

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Reflected light in Trafalgar Square

Apart from Joan Fontcuberta everything I picked out just because I liked the feel of it ended up being directly relevant to work I’d already started to think about, images I’d started taking and ideas I’d been playing around with.

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