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…

31 Breaths

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.
















6 Responses to “Strategies Project: 31 Breaths”

  1. ahmadou Says:

    really lovelly!!! it’s a great photgraph what a beautifull task, keep it on, it’s magnific and more over……..

    • denisefotheringham Says:

      Thank you Ahmadou. I am so glad that you like the work and are encouraging me to carry on with it. Best wishes to you!

  2. celiarosejackson Says:

    Hello Denise – please do stop saying sorry! – words like “apologies” and “awful” have no place when talking about your own work, as they inflect the viewer’s reaction even before s/he has had a chance to look at them…

    In any case, these are very good; pinhole photographs have a primal quality that, while uncontrollable, is reliable in the sense that they accurately represent subjective experience, private lives, an inner reality that is often chaotic and unpredictable.

    You might like chapter IX, On Habit, in Alain de Botton’s book ‘The Art of Travel’ – relevant and thoughtfully written.

    The project I mentioned in my earlier email is, curiously, about someone who has been in solitary confinement for over 26 years: a enforced solitude that at once resonates but is at odds with your introductory text above.

    Good luck/ pob lwc!

    • denisefotheringham Says:

      Thank you Celia: I will take your advice with regards to my choice of vocab. I wasn’t actually apologising for the originals, just the rubbish photographs of the images… I actually love my pinhole series and I am very proud of both of my recent projects. I will definitely check out the de Botton.

  3. Karen Says:

    Really lovely pictures Denise. Very dreamy and romantic.

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