Lines

My small contribution to Journey of a Photograph is now off to its next recipient.

travel-on

It’s taken me a while to be ready to make something for this project, in part because of all the travel and work that came between the parcel’s arrival and my own ability to stop and think about what I could add … what would be a suitable and (hopefully) interesting addition to the diversity I found sandwiched in the envelope.

parcel-open

I wanted to bring something about motion and space and connection to bear here. The Photograph and its travelling companions have been all over the planet, and in the last few months, I have been across the country, twice. The time and kilometres spent at 35000 feet or more could be a divisive thing – a separation from what keeps me going. It can be seen that way, certainly. Being ‘away’ is like that: the removal from home and all that entails, separation from family and friends and familiar things that ground and keep us whole. But the going to provided their own sense of home and community; these just-past travels brought me to new friends, allowed me to re-connect to others I know already, provided the opportunity to go to places I hold dear in my heart and see family that I miss deeply too.

skynsea

Like the pull of the tide, this motion has seemed inevitable, and essential.

 

Lines.

posttide5long3459WEB

 

On a map. Highways, dirt side roads, borders, boundaries. Railways. Ways of getting to. And from. And away.

Cook map_3

On my hands and around my eyes, the parts of me most evident and face-first in the making, and moving from one place to another. Squinting into the sun. Looking at the horizon.

 

At what comes next.

wave

On a shore, marking time and tide and the space between one land and another. Divisions metaphorical too – not to be crossed.

fromthebeach

I made a photocollage to send on: using the original Photograph as the base layer, adding another image I found in the package, and then finally some image stills for a video I shot in the UK last year.

journeyofa-photographSL-01WEB

But, in the end, this seemed inadequate to the task at hand: attempting to capture space and time and motion and the movement of one small package that – in traversing the globe – has connected, and will continue to connect – so many people.

So. In the end, my final offering is this:

 

… travel on … and enjoy the journey, and the stillness within it.

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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.

journeyings-10 emily hughes collaboration

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”.

Image

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

Journeyings

The photograph’s first stop on its journey occurs in the middle of America, in Wichita KS at the home/work spaces of Holly Suzanne and Nathan FilbertEkphrastix Arts.  We were happy to welcome the photograph from its creator, Emily Hughes,  as it begins its journey throughout the world as an ekphrastic object – traveling from artist to artist to inspire work and alter as a work in itself through posting, handling, and use (follow its life or join in its progress at Journey of a Photograph).

Here is what our hands and minds have made with/of it…Holly worked with encaustic and mixed media to create the collaged pieces, and I worked with paper and pen and then personal computer to create the texts that accompany.  The first image is a copy of the photograph from Emily.

Journeying

photograph by Emily Hughes

text by Nathan Filbert

8x10 mixed media/encaustic by Holly Suzanne

text by Nathan Filbert

11x14 encaustic / mixed media by Holly Suzanne

text by Nathan Filbert

texts were composed with the visual works and this audio from Ludovico Einaudi:

Again, to follow the travels and creations of this photograph visit Journey of a Photograph

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to see more work by Emily Hughes, please visit searchingtosee.com

for more of Holly Suzanne’s work, browse here, as well as Life in Relation to Art and her Gallery of Creative Artistry

for more by Nathan Filbert, visit The Whole Hurly Burly