Press On


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tick – tock – tick – tock
step – step – step

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I loved the idea of this project from the beginning, over a year ago now. It set a seed, inspired me to look towards from a difficult time, into the future, a place I hoped to reach.

Sometimes you don’t know why you do, you don’t even know if you can, you just know you have to. You press faith into faith, and hope the meaning will come clear. You keep laying each mark, and trying to build. Through a series of connections, you begin to make up a whole. Throwing stars at the moon, hoping to leave a pattern.

This project itself is a journey of many parts, gaining more resonance and a sense of itself as it moves on. Each bone in the spine is essential. I love to think of how long it might stretch.

This small composition forms part of what I hope to be a larger piece of music, this is a sketch of something slowly evolving, but somehow as it has grown with me since the seed of Emily’s project began, when I first saw the photograph and started to sing, it seemed perfect to post the first part of its journey here.

I’ll now send off the package, with a note to join the others, on to its next. A small part of me travels too..

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Press with Faith envelope 1_72

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window_72

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This package was such fun to open. Thankyou Emily!

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Cath Rennie 2014. 

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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.

Missing

Emily’s photograph arrived while I was away. I was on a road trip with my wife and son down to San Diego and back. We’d spent the better part of two weeks covering the West Coast, and the date stamped on the notice from the post office tells me her picture arrived while I was somewhere in the Sacramento Valley. As the mail carrier knocked on my door, I was likely speeding through sere grasslands toward the foothills, where our little hatchback would grumble as the elevation gained and the big rigs hauling fruit and spools of cable toward the border would groan even louder.

Or maybe we hadn’t made it that far yet. The miles, as they multiplied, also subdivided, erased in the haze of the wide, torrid valleys. For all our speed we were moving slowly, and all our distance had taken us, it seemed, nowhere. And this is just what we had needed after a few hard years, to unravel in this slowness and be washed by the land rushing past. To not be, as on a plane, exempt from the unprivileged points between beginnings and ends. Yet not entirely subject to the frictions of distance either.

The interstate we travelled for miles and days through California and Oregon passes near where we live, where Emily’s photograph has arrived on this stop of its journey. Under the overpass where the interstate crosses the ship canal there is a small homeless camp, one of countless camps under bridges and unclaimed spaces inside and around the city. Regularly, tents appear in that dark trapezoid like mushrooms that some invisible hand later culls so that one day, I see on a walk to the park with my son, they are gone—at least until they spring up again.

Missing (I)

A guy once told me on a city bus, when the buses were still free downtown, that he and his wife, who was napping beside him, wouldn’t go to the shelters anymore. He said it was better to camp out, even during the rain, and bet the police that would eventually come and kick them out would do so without hauling them to jail. “The shelters aren’t safe,” he said, “too many things happen there. And we can cook outside. We just went to the camping store and got a bunch of propane. Anything you bring to the shelter just gets taken by somebody. Outside, we at least can take our chances.”

Missing (II)

A wall can be a barrier and a shelter. I realize more and more the ways we can connect and go missing. This photograph found me, away, almost as easily as it might have found someone down the street in the building with my street number’s middle digits reversed—3621 instead of 3261, the error of a mail carrier daydreaming. But it was a hot summer’s day, we would have said, and his thoughts were climbing over a wall, taking their chances. Maybe they were and maybe we would have, having seen them before ourselves, inching upward, into the foothills of their own belief.

Missing (III)