I started this period of practice feeling that I had not yet been successful in capturing the being among trees. Feedback confirmed the need for greater interiority and less of looking in from outside and on a few occasions, I feel I have achieved this.
Seasonality and Temporality
The seasons represent a metaphor for the ontology of being and object-oriented ontology more generally. Through rigorous experimentation within my practice, I am evaluating strategies of reduction, metaphor and fracture as a means of glimpsing the essence of Skye.
This, third significant period of practice during my PhD has straddled the seasons of winter and spring and caused me to reflect on the relevance and appropriateness of the concept of seasons on an Island in the north-west of Scotland. It is often said on Skye that there can be four seasons in one day in terms of weather. The climate is changeable, forecasts unpredictable and weather patterns turbulent. It will be interesting to compare and contrast the colours, light, and luminosity of images taken across the four seasons. As part of my work, I have determined that the seasons on Skye represent the following aspects of being:
Autumn – the season of withdrawal
Winter – the season of becoming
Spring – the season of emergence
Summer – the season of being
A word that keeps returning to my mind as I work on my PhD is temporality and I decided to check its meaning. For me, it is about existing and being bounded by time, but also about the temporary nature of a moment. More specifically about a moment in time, a glimpse, something that is transitory in nature. Seasonality and Temporality relate to each other too in the sense that seasons are bounded by time and exist for a relatively short period before withdrawing.
Interiority, Connectedness and Togetherness
As I continue to work on the Among Trees collection, I have been trying to increase the sense of interiority in my images. It is about being with trees, among trees and being aware of the being of trees. Earlier in the week, I started to reflect this sense in my image making more as I switched to a longer lens that had the effect of bringing the trees closer together. This change immediately exuded the togetherness and connectedness of trees. Instead of opening up the world of trees, and focusing on their individuality, I am now able to bring them closer together by reducing width and depth.
The use of blur is significant in this work too and it is achieved through the use of intentional camera movement, slow shutter speeds and multiple exposure work. The strategy of reducing clarity, sharpness and difference (between the trees) provides the viewer with a perspective and a way of viewing trees that the human eye cannot replicate.
In the previous section I mentioned reductive strategies and in particular the use of blur to reduce individuality among the trees and the difference between the foreground and background. However, reductive strategies can be multi-dimensional and can be combined in order to achieve particular effects. For example, altering exposure settings in multiple exposure images can reveal light and luminosity between the layers. So, the viewer can encounter the woodland through the surface layer and luminosity of the wood through the bottom layer. Similarly, different intensity can be achieved between the layers and light can be layered to achieve different effects. Depth of field adjustments in the clarity of the foreground and background images also create different atmospheres and moods.
Using blur in a creative way enables the removal of a point of interest. In doing this, it is possible to avoid focus on individual trees and encourage the overall connectedness and togetherness of the woodland
I feel that I am now mastering techniques that help me to convey the experience of being among trees and being in a forest or woodland. After a few weeks of practice focusing on this aspect of essence, I plan to change subject next week and experiment and play some more. . .