On vision

November 30, 2011 § 1 Comment

I.

If photography is used as a tool to make real a subconscious world, both materially and experientially, then the actors chosen are also living characters within one’s personal netherworld. And in the psychology of dreams where every such actor is a manifest of one’s secret self, so are the actors chosen for the lens.

We speak of the real search of the mind’s eye, where vision begins to be crystallized. Where one’s vision leads the way and the camera and the self have no choice but to follow and serve.

And then, when found, the image is formed, materialized into it’s true incarnation, replete with frame, composition, length, breadth, depth, metaphor, code, symbols and significance.

II.

From the beginning, the true discovery of photography was the revelation that lay hidden within a scene that is not revealed by the eye’s gaze. Historically in the most minute details of great structures and the steps of a horse at a full gallop.

III.

Obsession. An event that becomes a pivotal point in one’s nature. So pivotal in fact, that the rest of one’s life is spent in recreation of some form of that very same event. The worrying of a wound yet unhealed.

Photography is to be obsessed. It is to continually prod, stroke, puncture, cajole the same sensitive spot to the point of ultimate culmination or dissatisfaction.

It is the working of the subconscious, the realm beneath the rationale that precedes deconstruction and understanding. It is through following this impulse that we find our answers and the quest comes to an end.

IV.

I feel frozen in grief. Like time has stopped still and my heart remains in the same state of juvenile mourning that it entered when I was 12. I am that child. I nurse and try to run away from the same blistering sadness. I am the same as I ever was.

“My whole nature was so penetrated by the grief and humiliation, that even now, famous and caressed and happy, I… wander desolate back to that time in my life.” ~ Charles Dickens

V.

Muse. I write words and hurl them into the public maw, hoping you will find them. You, with your own life, with your own friends, your own lovers. And I am left free to my own devices, my giant imagination. So I write, so I photograph, transcendent fire arrows in the dark.

You know this would never work if you were actually with me. I wouldn’t have to make these messages, wrapped in metaphorical code, cased in glass and flung to the waves. I’d just whisper to you and perhaps even then, you’d never truly know the continent of my heart. We would be held apart by the same insurmountable alps that other intimate couples discover in the journey towards each other.

It is within those messages that is written as plain as such humanity can be plain. What I fear. What I love. What obsessive winds buffet me from shore to seemingly random shore.

Muse. All this for you.

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Richard Siken

November 29, 2011 § Leave a comment

“All of us are trapped in our skins and drowning in gravity.”

Angkor Angkor

November 28, 2011 § Leave a comment

Siem Reap, Cambodia

We cruise along in the wet heat, doubled over in laughter. No traffic lights, the vehicles govern themselves and we make do. From slideshows to gallery openings to peer reviews to spicy bowls of noodle soup, to long nights of pool and beer, we weave through the dusty streets, navigating potholes and trying not to marvel too much at the scenes floating by and causing an accident. I bring Miss Adrienne Grunwald with me and she falls in love and tries to come up with ways to stay.

I see and hold my far-flung friends and we share stories. The weird, sad, freaky, side-splittingly hilarious, private ones. Not the ones in pictures. This is so precious to me. My favourite time of the year.

A farewell to arms

November 3, 2011 § 2 Comments

A 19 year old Ernest Hemingway came here. Freshly bitten by war, looking for a place to rest his wounds, he chooses the grand dame, Hotel des Iles Borromees in Stresa, along the bank of Lake Maggiore.

In the footsteps of Ernest Hemingway | Stresa, Italy

“Often a man wishes to be alone and a girl wishes to be alone too and if they love each other they are jealous of that in each other, but I can truly say we never felt that. We could feel alone when we were together, alone against the others. It has only happened to me like that once.” E.H. speaks of love between Frederick Henry and Catharine Barclay in ‘A Farewell to Arms’, set in Grand Hotel des Iles Borromees.

Reflexions; Lugano edition

November 3, 2011 § Leave a comment

Back in Australia for the moment… Europe is done for now. At least until February. My second session of Reflexions Masterclass is over, this time in Lugano, and I emerge breathless, confident, inspired.

I’m frequently asked what the sessions are like, what a masterclass actually is and whether it really is as wanky as it all sounds. Despite the lofty sounding name, I can honestly say that I have never been in an environment where I have felt more humbled and yet at the same time more honored to be a part of such a… movement of artists. (Sounds wanky, huh.)

Candidly speaking, I have to admit, a small, exclusive, arduously selected group of photographers meeting at a different location in Europe 3 times a year to discuss the peaks and troughs of their work and ways in which to elevate it, may sound like a load of tripe. In this case, the reality is much, much cooler. The result of this particular group, which I will be sad to see the end of, is an alternately humorous, serious, always passionate, warm and affectionate salon of creatives, all dedicated to their work and deeply invested in photography and the complexities of life that create the images that end up on the discussion table. The demands of the masterclass, a 3 times yearly deadline to produce outstanding work, is to first and foremost bring one’s mind and attention to the work of your peers. It’s a matter of insight and sharing that reflection in the hopes that we would serve as a multi-faceted mirror to each other and hopefully shed light upon areas previously unnoticed or unseen.

Lugano, Switzerland | October 2011

Second homes

November 3, 2011 § Leave a comment

I was recently asked to submit photographs to Das Magazin on “my” New York. The raucous cacophony that I pass through like a tiny tornado whenever my travel schedule will allow me. The enormity that I navigate filled with its beauty, crazy, concrete angles and deep rumbling underbelly. I feel lucky to call it a home… albeit a second one…

Where Am I?

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