Saturday, July 10, 2010

Incidental Graffiti

Similar in a way to the previous post, these are markings on street furnishings and walls made either directly or indirectly by people; incidental graffiti (which is possibly a crap name for it but oh well). One of these, the "you" photo, is purely a result of my selective interpretation of a chance occurrence, so in a way it doesn't really count... but the rest are more (semi) natural occurrences. Some, like the second last, are caused by nature while others, like the last, are caused by human activity and are generally incidental. Stains made on walls by I don't know what, lines of a dead creeping vine traced onto a building and bright scars etched into concrete as a result of a long past and forgotten minor accident. It's difficult to see these things because they're so blatantly unimportant, but once you do see them they're everywhere.

Days of Film

I hadn't gotten any colour prints in ages, and I hadn't done any mini projects for a while, and I hadn't just walked around with a camera for a while, so I did.

"The sign says up so I must go up"

The return of the rain meant the return of my long coat with the torn pocket big enough to fit a proper camera. The weight as I walk is a comforting burden, and the camera slips in and out of the pocket easily enough. I took the neckstrap off ages ago to try carrying it in my hand, รก la Henri Cartier-Bresson in a piece of footage from a documentary about him, showing him at work. It creates a bit more space in the pocket and is less hassle to handle, what with the neck-strap's tendency to get caught in buttons and wrapped around fingers. But it also makes a sort of psychological statement of intent; holding the camera as you walk cuts out one of the small procedures required to take a photograph and shortens the time in which the decision of whether to take or not to take is made. There are less excuses to chicken out.

I've been meaning to make a proper go of this idea/observation for a good three or four years - photographing things you see on the ground in a city. Random patches of missing tarmacadam, litter and detritus, chunks of road markings chipped away and smoothened by foot and wheel and the textures and forms you get within them. I generally try to photograph them from directly above, as I feel the distortion added by odd angles overtly changes the nature of the forms - I don't want to put too much of what I see in the photographs themselves. It's like looking at clouds I think; everybody has the capacity to see something completely different. Generally people see what they want to see, I think. It's not as if a person would look at something of insubstantial form and go out of their way to see something they didn't want to see. Or maybe that's just me. I just like drawing attention to these kinds of things, and can't help but routinely search the ground for odd shapes or textures. They look especially exotic when it's raining, as in most of these.

I'm not finished collecting them; I suppose I never will, but that's ok. These are the kinds of thing I like to photograph when I feel I can't face involving people in the picture; instead there are only residual traces of people - their minute actions that leave an indelible mark on their surroundings, which they then largely ignore.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Naturally Occuring Camera Obscura

The school across the road, upside down and back to front thanks to a hole in the velux blind.