Strategies Project: 31 Breaths
January 19, 2012
Apologies again for the quality of the images… Much better when seen on big bits of photo paper… I would like to thank the Newport branch of the WRVS for helping me with the project. The first image below is from the negative scan. The others are really awful photographs of the prints (You can see where the daylight is hitting the prints…)! I will sort out better reproductions to put on here soon…
The series of 5 x 4 pinhole images uses Stanislavski’s idea of ’emotion memory’ to articulate the experience of being housebound.
For individuals no longer able to explore the outside world physically, they achieve ‘access’ through what they see on the television, in photographs or through the windows of their home; they also have their memories.
In memory, the special places of our past become soft and idealised; the sky is a rich blue, the grass a myriad of vibrant greens. The images we call up are not sharp, we do not see the fine detail, but rather an impression, coloured by emotion, by longing.
To re-visit the places we once explored, we must breathe deeply and carefully, and with each breath, remember.
This series evokes the act of remembering. Created by hand-holding the camera and allowing its body to vibrate with the artist’s breath, the process of making each picture is as important as the final image itself. The ’31’ in the title refers to the number of breaths drawn by the artist whilst each negative was being exposed. 2 minutes and 46 seconds of thinking, remembering and laying down new memories.
Hand-printed in the darkroom, the blue/green tones are calming, yet intense and are intended to articulate the romanticisation of memory and heighten the viewer’s emotional response to the work. The aesthetic is deliberately ‘romantic’, with echoes of Impressionism and the photography of Steichen. The imperfections within each print speak of the individual’s inability to control the visual pictures memory brings forth, pictures that comfort yet also tease those who are unable to venture outside their own homes.