In such traumatic times here in the UK, it really seems that much of what we have taken for granted over the last years is gradually draining away. Such things as rationality, decency, respect, imagination, the quest for truth, idealism and tolerance have been thrown onto a political bonfire of vanities. And who knows what lies on the far side of all this upheaval.
While I was choosing an image for this year’s International Print Exchange this one jumped out as a weird, wistful and very obvious candidate. I hope whoever receives it will take it as a hand of friendship as well as a slightly desperate wave for help.
The exhibition featuring prints from 25 local printmakers (including three of my photogravures from pinhole images) runs from Friday 30th August until Sunday 15th September 2019. See the Coventry Printmakers website at for opening days/times.
The opening Private View is 6pm-9pm Thursday 29th August at Classroom Gallery, 16 Lower Holyhead Road, Coventry, CV1 3AU and it would be great to see you there!
On a recent visit to the Welsh borders I began to experiment with making sound recordings of the same length as the exposure time of the photograph. The descending flood waters combed all the strands of grass in a strange and uniform direction back towards the racing current. On a dull day using paper negative in a beautiful little oak camera, four minutes was required. Listen to the environmental sounds of the exposure below.
This head amongst the grass is full of seed
pulsating with rich life when ending’s fear
blurs hopes and tries to lie when I still need
to see with open eyes. Now leaving here
I tread a path which winds between the trees,
not straight nor worn but forked and born
of chance encounters where others do not flee
but talk and lead me on, feeling less torn.
The gaze upon the dirt misses the sky,
where larks and swifts so light above the world
fill hearts with lift and liberate the sigh
of flesh which loves the earth on which it’s curled.
When running down, not up, on darker days
Find seeds, high ground, a lens to look both ways.
Those lips’ butterfly pause
briefly on the skin
then flower, drink
until the ceaseless breeze
lifts the fragment.
Complex veins pulse
against the light.
Contre-jour is difficult,
still beauty shines
stronger against the rules.
Cool gusts blow,
pull the wings
the sun which dries
the drop so recent
and so moist,
steady for departure.
The future is a feint
of once-lined maps
dried in memory of land
by ocean travellers
hoping full circle
can be true.