Illusion of a walk
In a photographic class we were asked to take a series of pictures, connected by something such as an idea or a neon light. This is something contrary to my current style where the pictures are taken before conscious thinking about the subject.
If I where to make an advert for a company I would start with a list of customer attribute; marketing goals, the massage to be conveyed etc just like in system analysis fore designing a system. Although very interesting activity there is no feeling in it, it is an pure exercise of logic; it is very likely that those who are the targets of this advert will enjoy the advert more than the type of picture created by the feeling process.
The advert may arouse many feelings in the observers, because the world of the observer has been studied carefully, and hopefully symbols that have a meaning for many of them have been identified and included in the advert.
But for me creating an advert type of picture, even when it contains a message about some very useful and important social aspects of society, would only be an exercise in logic and at best it should be left to experts in the field to create it, such visuals not produce any satisfaction in me.
Although I did not like the exercise I decided to have a go at it any way. Take pictures first (as I had no common connectivity in mind) finding a connecting line latter- perhaps this means that I would be the common factor in the photographs?
First I took a series of photographs in the house. I just looked around and took pictures of what ever attracted my attention (some would say that I let my unconscious guide me). I am always fascinated by doors, a strange thing that allows you to go from one era through to another, say from one side of an wall to other
So I started from the door of the house leading to the garden, looking from dark of the interior in to the bright of the outside
I took some pictures going around our small garden (which I always fail to capture it’s essence on the camera) an which looks more like a jungle than a garden
And finally I took a picture of the stares leading back in to the house, And of the hall leading to the door lost in darkness
Then latter on I took some picture in the house on the second floor, I took a picture of covered up chair
Latter I took some picture of my daughter’s bead room on the ground floor
By this time I had about 30+ pictures, without much thinking, I selected few of them that appealed most to me. Then it appeared to me that they had a message, as if they where saying something,
Well what. The feelings that ware taking shape in me, in some way related to memories of my mother in her last year of cancer.
It just came to my mind that mother, hair falling out, vision fading, leaning on a walking stick, used to have daily routine short walks in their large saloon, stuffed with potted plants, on the first floor, so I decided to use this memory as glue for connecting pictures I had taken. But just like dreams I transposed the walk that took place in the first floor, to the ground floor
. The pictures where to show what she saw in her walk – of course down stairs –
The first picture was of the door opening into the garden, perhaps the light of the garden signifying life …
The number of picture in the garden is an attempt to give a feeling of sick old woman walking very slowly around the garden – or enjoying life for a brief moment – Pausing here and there to catch her breath enjoying what was left of life that was numbered, Perhaps this was what she felt when walking in the large salon upstairs full of potted leaves
Her returns into the house, through the veranda, and the door to the house – I like to think that the halls darkness signifies her situation in the battle with cancer and the tiny spot of light in the darkness signifying her very little chance of survival as evaluated by her doctor – 1%.
Then in the story, as it developed in my mind, she would go to the small ground floor saloon site on a chair for a few moments
and look at the garden through the wide widow – as if reviewing life that was getting beyond her rich from edge of death – as I did not have a salon window in my 50 pictures I barrowed a picture from set of pictures I had taken several months before -.
And then, in the story, she moves to her room – actually for some reason I had preferred to substitute the picture of my daughter’s room on the ground floor for picture of her real room on the first floor – that is now empty as she is gone overseas – perhaps this act holds a massage and a story of its own?
And as a after thought I decided to includ my mothers walking stick as her signature on the bead – Something likes Alfred Hitchcock’s face in his movies.
Although in the class I was told that the stick was out of place – but my feelings told me that it was a must, to me it expressed something very important, something that I did not know what it exactly was, but I had strong urge for it to be there. I felt that I must add something to the picture that belongs to a person that has gone otherwise it would be anybodies picture
And finally the story ended with her looking at the view of the window showing a few green leaves back lighted in by the evening sun. All that remained of the world to be seen by a woman who loved flowers and foliage very very dearly in her life – I had no such picture among 35 pictures I had taken so I barrowed it from my collection, a picture taken from the window of the other bedroom on the first floor some time ago
I presented the pictures to the class .of course first with out a narrative as expected the reception was rather muted, Just a number of haphazard pictures, Perhaps a complete failure, they where polite, but I got the message, WHERE IS THE CONNECTION
Then I was asked for my comment on the pictures, I told them the story, making it as tragic as I could. It worked, the instructor took a genuine delight in the idea, and he said I never thought of a dead persons view acting as a common factor connecting pictures. The class was some what impressed and shaken.
Then I tolled them little about the process through which I created the story, and that this story only had a lose connection to reality of my mothers last year. The roof fell in the instructor’s reaction was somewhat interesting, his first reaction was shock he said” but we trusted you and believed what you where telling us” with somewhat dejected tone.
Then I tried to explain more, perhaps with little success. Like most stories this story has many levels, reality or the story, the first level, is just the shop window for the next level, the second level being the emotions within the person that gave berth to the story and third level associations that gave rise to the emotions in the first place, and so on?
Looking back on the story in retrospect I think it still holds another untold story lying beneath my mother’s story, a story that has some thing to do, with evaporation of the family through their departure
A story whose author is my unconscious, who is trying hard to say something – we are told by some that 75% of our thoughts and hence actions are dominated by our unconscious – which perhaps makes talking about these pictures little absurd
The pictures, the story, the narrative will be deciphered by other observer that have their own unconscious, their own database of symbols, with no access to my database of symbols, emotions
They will hear, feel and tell a different story each,their story
To me each picture has as many worlds within it as there are observers
And I am left alone with my picture
I think this picture sums it up pretty well;
No room, no window no man just a reflection on a wall