Wave goodbye to all that

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.

Coventry Printmakers Inaugural Open Call Exhibition

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!

Water-combed grass

water-combed-grass-pinhole
Water-combed grass alongside the descending River Monnow.

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.

Look Both Ways

Look Both Ways
Look Both Ways

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.

A Hand From The Shadows
A Hand From The Shadows

A Face in the Forest
A Face In The Forest

Companion
Companion

Look Up and Down
Look Up and Down

Soil

Face
Face

Fork
Fork

Feet
Feet

A simple crust between man and oblivion.
One hundred fragile summers left,
maybe less, dark cushion for jewels,
trodden with unseeing soles.

There is art down there if we know
to sketch its lines, sculpt its frame,
shade the subtleties of its face
drawn long from spring to frost.

The pulse thrives between our fingers,
crumbles the warm tilth,
lets through the twisting root
searching for the core of life’s longing.

Departure

 

Leaving
Leaving

Departure

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,
show direction,
pull the wings
spreading before
the sun which dries
the drop so recent
and so moist,
steady for departure.
The future is a feint
brittle parchment
of once-lined maps
dried in memory of land
by ocean travellers
in chrysalis
hoping full circle
can be true.

 

Heart-shaped pool
Heart-shaped pool