I feel I’ve really found the pathway or waterway I wish to take for Assignment Two. I’m so passionate about it, the images are quite different to my usual style yet it is the different images, such as the abstracts that I feel most connected to. I will research some photographers who photograph wide open places in an abstract way.
I do plan to return but perhaps I will return with the same lens. Or perhaps I will just see where the wind takes me and the assignment. With my photography, I had a different lens and that enabled me to experiment and create images I wouldn’t usually. Now I feel very drawn to the abstract portrayal of a landscape. Is abstract photography the onomatopoeia of the photography world? I remember my joy as a GCSE student to discover onomatopoeic words such as ‘crunch, crackle, fizz’ that perfectly imitate the sounds of the words they are describing. I only need to read the word crunch and instantly I feel as though I am hearing someone walking on dry leaves or chomping through their breakfast cereal. And in that respect, abstract photography captures the details, the sounds, the feelings of that place. Perhaps not all abstracts, some may be to challenge the perception, to tell stories but in regards to my assignment, I feel these images below that I captured, illustrate the feeling and senses of the river trip.
ABSTRACT PHOTOGRAPHY – Contextualisation
Nadav Kander created a series of images for his book, Dust where he photographed abandoned and restricted areas wrought by the desolation of man creating photos that are an oxymoron, they are devoid of people yet they are seeped in humanity, their very essence and destruction and responsibility is tied to humanity. Two small towns that Kander photographed, Kurchatov and Priozersk were not even known until Google Earth discovered them.
He heads his work with the stanza from TS Elliot’s poem ‘The Wasteland’
‘I will show you fear in a handful of Dust’ TS Elliot
I’ve read many thoughts on the meaning of this line, but just like art, poetry is subjective and one meaning may not resonate with another. My personal opinion of this quote in regards to his photography is the dust and the ashes of the place that have been destroyed or been left to rot by man, “I will show you fear” your mind is consumed by what has gone before, here is a handful of dust of all that is left. Let your terrified imagination fill in the terrible gaps. Yet could the quote also be taken to mean, you may be terrified of the world and the darkness and the huge scheme of things but I will show you the fear in the little things, in a handful of dust.”
Illustrating a series with a poem brings me back to my own assignment, I referred to my river trip with Robert Frost’s poem, ‘The Road not Taken‘. Perhaps I myself should illustrate my journey with a poem (written by myself) In fact the more I think about it, the more the rhythm of the river seems to echo the words of poetry. As in the poem Limbo, a powerful tale of the African slaves, the poem echoes with repetition until you feel you are almost swaying with the backbreaking rhythm of the boat as the slaves work the oars.
One of the images on his website that grabbed me is reminescent of an abstract painting, a blur of blue and sienna, the raw colours of nature. The image is split into two layers, the sky and the earth, both whipping by as though as though you are viewing it from a moving vehicle. It feels like two stripes of paint, a unity of the sky and earth with no details or barriers to disrupt the rhythm. “My landscapes are really honed to the palm print of man, mans effects on their surroundings…it’s really about the endeavour of man which is behind those pictures.”
Brett Weston – He captures the landscape around him in such a flawless abstract style, taking a small square from a vast place and making that the main His images remind me of the mantra in Rudyard Kiplings, ‘The Jungle Book‘ The strength of the pack is the wolf, but the strength of the wolf is the pack.” So as to say, he takes a very small portion of a vast landscape, turns it on its head to show the small portion is just as powerful as the landscape around him. The landscape draws its power from the details yet the details draw the power from the landscape. The undulating waves of the desert rising like tumultuous waters of the deep. His images can appear as multiple things at once, Is it trees and branches jutting out of still waters, or reflections of overhanging trees. Or are they bent and warped pieces of iron filing or paperclips, a modern piece of art.
I first came across Franco Fontana’s wonderful images whilst watching Masters of Photography where Fontana was a judge. Some of the wisdom he offered was so powerful that it has buried itself deep into my mind and often speaks those words in moments when I am studying. I wrote about him here His images pack a punch of intense colour, the saturation so powerful you can almost taste it. I love the way he sees the landscape, in bands of colours, seeking out the beautiful masterpieces created by nature. Indeed his mantra is ‘to make the invisible visible’