I have been working over the past few weeks, since my last ‘meeting’ with my tutor in August, on various book layouts. I have simplified the layout to a plain white background and reduced the size of the text. I have produced two draft versions:
Draft 2: in this version I have tried combining images of the reeds and seascapes. I have removed the words apart from an introductory piece at the beginning of each chapter:
Draft 3: in this version I have experimented with combining black and white images and words from my portfolio from Sustainable Prospects with my latest work:
I have also been refining my Statement of Intent/Artists Statement as follows:
The Ephemeral Hiddenness of Skye
“The soul never thinks without a picture.” (Aristotle)
Focusing on detailed aspects of nature and spending time in the landscape allows me to reflect on my own inner life: the hurt and fracture – confronting the chaos of death and destruction during my time as a police photographer; the remnants and vulnerability of my youth and the solitude of adulthood when parents are gone. I use aspects of the natural world as metaphors for my feelings and emotions and use light and shade, luminosity and depth, shape and structure as a means of revealing the Skye that most visitors and locals fail to notice.
I am driven by a search for the ephemeral hiddenness of the Isle of Skye, and my photography seeks to capture its essence, rather than a simple visual and literal representation. I am not looking for the sublime and romantic depictions of the Island that so many photographers produce but a reflection of my personal experience of this beautiful part of north-west Scotland.
My work is informed by philosophers such as Jose Ortega y Gasset, Harman, Meillassoux and Heidegger and influenced by painters including J M W Turner and Claude Monet. Photographic influencers include Fay Godwin, Ori Gersht, Iain Serjeant and Awioska van der Molen.
Looking through the lens of my experience I see the sea, lochs, mountains and moors – these are Skye’s sensible properties. It is not these I am seeking but those that transcend individual experience – the ‘otherness’ of its geography, the vulnerability of its ecology and its ephemeral hiddenness. I am searching for those passing moments, glimpses, transitory states when Skye reveals itself to me: its mystery, fragility and resilience – its essence. However, notwithstanding the various influences upon me, I seek to exploit the aesthetic voice of the camera by realising its fullest potential to capture what I would describe as the ‘eternal moment. In my view, unlike any other art form, the camera has the ability to translate, recognise and record the eternal moment. That is why I make my images in camera and do not subsequently seek to transform or idealise the reality of that moment through post-processing.
I had a really positive “meeting” with my tutor. We spoke about the metaphor of the journey and looking again at the work of Thomas Joshua Cooper. She suggested that I needed to focus now on my book work, editing and curating images and sequencing and the use of text. She said she preferred Version 3 and loved the black and white images with diary-like words – in particular the upside down image that she felt should be the image to advertise my project. She also said it was time to put the camera down.
I asked her particularly about the combination of colour and black and white images as I was cautious about this, given previous conversations with tutors that suggested this was a no no. I believe this is part of my journey and that I have now moved from the dark black and white images to a willingness to express myself in colour. She reminded me of the film The Wizard of Oz where both black and white and colour are used. She said she felt my personal voice was coming through and I should make my personal journey clear. She said she felt that the layout of my first book draft was best ie with one page with words opposite the image. I agreed to work further on layouts and ideas before participating in the Guest Workshop with Victoria Forrest.