I have ditched SmartPhones because I just kept breaking or losing them and I was getting repetitive strain from complusive scrolling. While it;s the best move I have made in a long time – its terrifying how entranced people are by their phones – I still love taking snap shots for references so now I carry a small digital camera with me everywhere. Though I only bought it last year it is in bits, held together by tape. The LCD screen doesn’t work any more so I never know what picture I have taken until I get home. I like this ‘blind photography’. It reminds me of using film cameras and the anticipation of seeing what emerges. As an artist it also forces me to give up control of what images emerge, to allow chance to have a say.
I saw this perched on a tree stump in a bog when I was stuck in traffic during the week. Along with all the other issues with the camera, before I could even point it in the right general direction, I had to locate it from the bottom of my bag and then find the SD card which was in my laptop which was zipped up in another bag. By the time I was able to shoot, the heron was nearly out of I was surprised that I liked the resulting picture. It vaguely reminds me of a Japanese wood cut, an impression underlined by the poplar trees that were twisting and shaking in the wind along side the road.
This might sound odd, to draw a comparision between classic print and a modern day snap shot but it has been done before and perhaps this large colour photograph by artist Jeff Wall, A Sudden Gust of Wind (1993), which recreates a Japanese print by Hokusai Travellers Caught in a Sudden breeze at Ejiri (1832), one of the 36 prints of Mount Fuji, is what made me think of Japanese prints in the first place.
Works like this emphasise that there is no difference between us and people of the past, that recording modern culture in modern ways is as important as honouring and preserving classic works, that they are all of piece.
(I knew I wouldn’t be able to just post one image and not write…)