Designated

jop final version for the time being

 

I followed this photograph’s journey for a while. I lost the track of it round about after summermlee posted the work that he, and other collaborators, made based on this photograph. Recently Emily Hughes posted a request for another address for a memory to be made. She felt it wasn’t time for its journey to end. Bravely, I put myself forward as a possible next participant. I don’t like journeys to end merely because there’s nowhere else to go.

In reading others’ entries I was struck by how people must’ve changed within themselves within this year (this month is a year since the journey started) it took for this photograph to travel this world.

Within myself, a year ago, I was too shy, had too little self confidence. I’ve since taken part in other collaborations which gave me the faith (thanks summermlee) in my work to forward my address so the next memory could be made based on this photograph.

One is on a journey whether one stays put or not. I’ve had times when a walk to the kitchen from my bedroom was epic. I traversed some of the mountain (a real one) on which I stay in the meantime. Work processes, spiritual growth, reaching for maturity of mind, health, finding peace, (at some cost); all are, were, will be journeys.

The image is ephemeral, transient, non-specific, unfixed in any given time or space. This journey of this photograph can be traced and is being accumulated into one specific place. One can’t help but wonder what Emily’s motive is for facilitating this? Searching to See, probably.

This may sound strange, even fickle, but ideas are a dime a dozen sometimes. I had, in fact, set aside some prints, images scanned in, photos of my own, photos of the parcel and its contents, other ephemera, to use. Which I then didn’t use. A spontaneous reaction to a post by Nannus on Asifoscope found me flying into the studio, the place that other people would call a lounge, and I started the work with whatever I could lay my hands on. So the process the artwork went through, became the journey. I recorded various stages of the work process and posted this on my site. It seems collaborating in, discussing, blogging about art is good for me at present.

Rudolf Arnheim, in Art and Visual Perception: A Psychology of the Creative Eye, said: Every memory has an address. I have the book next to me as I write. Couldn’t find the entry in order to give a chapter and page number. It may very well fall under the chapter called Light. Something cryptic, as is the photograph: this is ironic. With respect to the past.

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please let me know if you are interested in becoming a contributor to the journey!

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The journey of a photograph is looking for new participants. It has been such a creative and inspiring journey, but it’s not ready to end yet. Currently the photograph resides in New Zealand, and although I’m sure it’s enjoying it’s little sojourn there by the beach with Maureen of  kiwissoar (and how envious I am of it), it needs to move on to new destinations. If you are an artist, writer, photographer, or any other type of uncategorisable creative being (aren’t they the best types?) and think you might have something to add to the journey, please contact me , or sign up via the blog. Contributions have been varied and unique, each and every one,  from solargraphs to mosaics, and poetry: check out the blog to see where the photograph has been and what it has inspired thus far. I can promise your practice and even your…

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MOVING ON

I have watched this journey with interest.  At last that much-traveled envelope has arrived on my desk here in New Zealand, and I have carefully unpacked the treasures within it – as well as adding some of my own.  For me the original photograph speaks of windows from one world to another, of reaching across barriers between times, between worlds.  There is potential here for magic and for dreams.

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moon and trees
swirl past these windows
reflections

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Memories of those who have gone before, and those who will follow…

the journey

…thank you for allowing me to be a part of this journey

De revolutionibus

Last February 15th was the 450 aniversary of the bird of Galileo Galilei (15 February 1564 – 8 January 1642). As everbody knows Galileo was an Italian physicist, mathematician, astronomer and philospher. In other words, he was a Renaissance scientist who played a major role in the scientific revolution. Galileo’s championing of heliocentrism was controversial within his lifetime; he was investigated by the Roman Inquisition, which concluded that heliocentrism was false and contrary to scripture, placing works advocating the Copernican system on the index of banned books and forbidding Galileo from advocating heliocentrism. He was tried by the Holy Office, then found “vehemently suspect of heresy”, was forced to recant, and spent the rest of his life under house arrest. His achievements include improvements to the telescope and consequent astronomical observations and support for Copernicanism.

Nicolaus Copernicus (19 February 1473 – 24 May 1543) was also a Renaissance mathematician and astronomer who formulated Heliocentrism, a scientific model of the universe which placed the Sun, rather than the Earth, at the center. The publication of Copernicus’ book, De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres), just before his death in 1543, is considered a major event in the history of science. It began the “Copernican Revolution” that resolved the issue of planetary retrograde motion by arguing that such motion was only perceived and apparent, rather than real…

The solar system has the Sun in its center with all the planets spining in eliptical orbits around it. The Earth’s orbit is the motion of the Earth around the Sun, from an average distance of 149.59787 million kilometers away. A complete orbit of the Earth around the Sun occurs every 365.2563666 mean solar days (1 sidereal year). This motion gives an apparent movement of the Sun with respect to the stars at a rate of about 1°/day eastward, as seen from Earth. On average it takes 24 hours—a solar day—for Earth to complete a full rotation about its axis relative to the Sun so that the Sun returns to the meridian. The orbital speed of the Earth around the Sun averages about 30 km/s (108,000 km/h). Assuming Earth’s orbit around the sun to be circular, the “journey” of the Earth in one year is roughly 940 million kilometers (585 million miles).

Some years ago I read the book “The Sleepwalkers: A History of Man’s Changing Vision of the Universe.” by Arthur Koestler, an interesting informative approach to the history of Astronomy. In the book, the author stated that the highly technical “De Revolutionibus” was ignored by 16th-century readers.

More recently, it came to my eyes an incredible “journey” of more than 30 years carried out by Owen Gingerich, a former Research Professor of Astronomy and of the History of Science at Harvard University, and a senior astronomer emeritus at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. He spent more than 30 years of his life hunting down every known surviving copy of Nicolaus Copernicus’s 1543 opus, “De revolutionibus” [see http://www.boston.com/news/education/higher/articles/2004/04/13/book_quest_took_him_around_the_globe/]

His journey began as “a smallish project” to prove whether Copernicus’s work was or wasn’t read. Gingerich tracked who first owned each book, deciphered notes that studious readers – including Galileo Galilei – had penned in the margins, and plotted each book’s travels to form a picture of what the scientific network of the day looked like. His exhaustive research proved beyond question that “De Revolutionibus” was, indeed, a hard book to put down.

Needless to say that I have ordered Gingerich book and I am eager to read it!

#0032EAs most of the formers contributors to this “Journey of a Photograph” when I received the parcel and look at the picture inside it, I thought of a journey in a train. The trees in that picture inspired me and, after harvesting several drink cans converted to pinhole cams to register solargraphs during a holiday trip to my homeland in Asturias (North coast of Spain) I was lucky enough as to have manage to point in the right direction.

In the solargraph you see a centenary oak covered by the sun trails from the 15th of August 2013 to the 7th of February 2014. When I opened the can I found some water inside wetting the sensible black and white paper. This is, most probably, the responsible of producing those blue spots in the bottom and the “peculiar” brownish color. After letting it dry in the dark, I scanned the image formed during those months to get (after minimum post process in PS) the image you see above.

Can you image the distance we all traverse in our lives without even noticing it? A long Journey based on “Revolutionibus”

Interlude

Interlude final

‘Interlude’

The Journey final

‘The Journey’

The intimate is not a space but a relationship between spaces.

– Beatriz Colomina

I was forced, recently, to take a break from blogging. Not really by choice, but because life burst forth in a relentless tidal wave of busyness (as it does every year at the same time), and something had to give. However, I have been continuing to make pictures, and the past few months has been a process of consolidation and gathering together of things which I have been thinking about and working on for a long time, years even. I have not made any ‘new’ pictures as such; it is the nature of photography that you can be extremely prolific when you are clicking a button (that’s the easy part), yet it’s the editing that take the time; the drawing together the threads of the narrative and the sifting through the rubble to seek out those lustrous gems. It has been more a process of looking back, reflecting, and relentless revision, which at times has been tedious and painful, but also extremely necessary and ultimately rewarding, because it has brought some clarity of thinking, and more importantly, some direction.

Many participants in the collaborative Journey of a Photograph project, which I initiated back in February of last year, have commented on the ‘layers’ which the photograph has gathered as it travels from participant to participant in far-flung corners of the globe. An enviable journey it has made so far, hopping from Ottawa to London to LA to Brussels, to name a few destinations. The description of the Winter Garden photograph, which Barthes writes of in the opening of Camera Lucida, opens the blog. With its faded sepia print and blunted corners this photograph was for Barthes a symbol of time past, and it proudly wore its scars in the way that a treasured piece of furniture might gather and wear the scrapes and knocks of everyday familial use – the ‘battle scars’ of age. But this photograph – my photograph – isn’t really old yet. Or at least the reproduction of it is not. The image itself was taken over 10 years ago when I was a different person; a different version of ‘me’.

The photograph - Jan 2014

‘The photograph’ – January 2014

I think that when people are writing about, and indeed responding to the ideas of these layers in their own work in many, many wonderfully different and creative ways (which I will save for another discussion on the blog), they are thinking about the significance that this photograph (as opposed to a photograph, a regular reproduction) – which has become more than just a photograph but a whole package (or ‘a neatly packaged risk’ – as summed up perfectly by Summer Lee) – is gathering. With each journey it becomes a bit more precious, and a bit more unique. The package itself; a patchwork of stamps and postmarks wrapped with industrial amounts of sellotape, is becoming more fragile. It is creating its own memory and its own history. However, this is not a history which is a natural cause of time passing, but a shared history forced through intervention. The photograph, and the many beautiful and thoughtful ‘things’ it has inspired and instigated and accumulated along the way on its journey; the package it has become, which binds a disparate little group of bloggers and artists and writers together, is a very public and self-conscious history. This is of course in marked contrast to the private history represented by Barthes’ Winter Garden photograph.

This project has made me look upon the role of photography and memory is a new way, crystallising many ongoing ideas I have had about photography and objects and memory; giving them form, physicality and practice. But it has also forced me to look at my own past and more specifically my past work with fresh eyes. I started the project off with an image I took when I was in my 20s studying for my MA. It was part of a series of images on the subject of what I called ‘in-between space’. In this case the ‘non-space’ of the motorway journey. It seemed to fit the theme, but I wasn’t really sure why I chose that image when I sent it off. Now I think I understand a bit better. I used to feel I had ‘moved on’ from it all, maybe even a little embarrassed at the immaturity of my earlier work, however doing this project has made me realise that it was and remains yet very much an important part of me. Even though now I wouldn’t make that work in the same way, it is still relevant. If it is still ‘me’, it is a ghost, a shadow of me which contains a small kernel of what I am now, and what I will be. The picture I chose I described as ‘nondescript’, I think, in my post. It had something in it which I thought could become something, but which wasn’t quite up to it by itself, wasn’t quite there yet, and I think that’s why I was drawn to it. I was never entirely happy with what that project became. It almost felt like it was stranded in mid-air…. It was as if I knew I needed to go back to it, and perhaps this was my way of doing that.

So, I would like to thank you all for adding your layers, each and every one, and for helping me get to where I am now. Some of you have commented on how the project has revived, or even changed your practice. Well, this is certainly the case for me. I also feel that, more significantly, within the very public and impersonal ‘in-between’ space of the internet, and over vast distances, we have succeeded in creating a shared space of intimacy represented by this little package, and of course this blog. Something which I tried to realise 10 years ago, but was unable to.

Now that life is finding its way back to a more manageable ebb and flow, I am resuming my blogging journey. The photograph too will journey on again – it is not yet ready to relinquish its voyage of discovery. It sits on my desk as I type, this neat little package. I seized the opportunity created by a lull in the project to bring it back home to me, and I’m glad that I did as it’s quite comforting to have it here, to open it and absorb for myself the little treasures and keepsakes which have been entrusted to it. I have also added my own little token to the package, and now I look forward, with renewed enthusiasm, to what the next phase of the project brings. I think, perhaps, we both just needed a bit of a break.

The images at the start of this post are from a series I have been working on over the past couple of months called ‘Horizon’.

© images and content Emily Hughes, 2014

Lost in the mist of time

I got the photo today. It was inside an envelope covered in layers of address labels, stamps and scan labels. Layers of history, not ancient but recent history, at least within the last year. A photo too is a record of history, and this particular photo made by Emily is intriguing. Every time I saw it on the blog it seemed to say the same thing, and now I have it in my hands it still says the same thing. Emily writes that she took the photo over 10 years ago whilst on a journey, and many of the writers and artists who have received the photo have interpreted that journey as a train ride. To me too it seems it was taken from a train. It is dark, ambiguous, mysterious. Those circles of light are like lost souls waiting, watching the train passing. Lost souls from the past waiting… for what? Perhaps they are a family waiting for the return of their father from the war. Perhaps they are just waiting, because that’s what happens at train stations. Now forgotten faces, always waiting, immortalized in the photo. The two hexagon shapes in the sky one light and one dark like two suns, as if suggesting life and death, creation and destruction.

This is Emily’s photo.

Emilys-photo

I made a collage using layers of newspaper, not ancient but recent history, and over sharpened it with a photo editor.  This is  “Lost in the Mists of Time”.

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I normally work with mosaic and sometimes mosaic animation, but as I started out in collage and photomontage, it was a refreshing change to make a collage for this project! To see my blog visit katerattray.wordpress.com

My website is www.rattraymosaics.co.uk

Journey of a Photograph is a collaborative project invented by Emily Hughes.

If you would like to take part in this project you can sign up here

‘night train to sapa ’

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Good morning!

I received Emily’s photograph September 28nd 2013. Having followed her blog, from the beginning, I had often thought what would I do if I were asked to put together a piece for this collaboration.

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Emily invited me to participate and I was sent the photograph to interpret from my point of view. My first thought was, I’m looking at a full moon at night viewed from a moving train. The image reminded me of an overnight trip on a local train from Hanoi to Sapa in Northern Vietnam. I lay on a steel plank on the bottom bunk. I shared the compartment with five other people.  It was dark. Flashes of light came in through the window. Metal against metal screeched. Strange smells, sights and sounds of humans asleep came at me for what turned out to be a long nightmarish night. I kept my mind occupied by writing a poem in my head. When I returned home, I made ‘night train to sapa town’ first into a poem and then into an Artists’ Book printed on handmade paper. The poem became the basis for this project.

I started my project with a series of charcoal sketches of the night sky, which were drawn in the middle of the night.

Thinking of the train ride and Emily’s image, it’s shapes and connotations, I took some photographs.  ‘Full Moon Over the City’ and ‘Steel and Wood’ built towards my final painting,  Three paintings later, I was satisfied with ‘Good morning. Would you like a cup of tea?’ (acrylic on canvas measuring 32” x  32”) click on image to enlarge

Personal connections are happening here. Participating artists are commenting on each other’s work. One artist included a photograph; another artist added a leaf with a message written on it.  Added to this collection, was a tiny four-leaf clover from an artist in Belgium. Now, I am adding my admission ticket to Ho Chi Minh Museum in Hanoi. I carefully put back, into the original envelope, the photograph and it’s companion pieces. The photograph is ready to continue it’s journey.

If you would like to participate in the journey of this photograph take a look here.

To find out more about how this project started visit Emily’s blog.
To visit my blog go to http://carlasaunders.com/

Thank you, Emily. Your project took me to a new place in my art.  I really enjoyed the ride.