Strange Synthetic Perfumes (2023)

My imagination attached itself to these lines in part two of T.S. Eliot’s poem, The Waste Land (an excerpt of which being the prompt for The Kick-About No.77): ‘In vials of ivory and coloured glass / Unstoppered, lurked her strange synthetic perfumes / Unguent, powdered, or liquid’. I got this immediate mental impression of colour, specularity and transparency, so I gathered together the many various old glass bottles we’ve collected over the years, reached for some food colouring and assembled a still life or two. The resulting images were produced by purposefully defocusing the photograph and over-exposing the bottles. I was pushing for something as painterly as possible and while some of these photographs are a bit ‘IKEA’ I suppose, I enjoyed all the in-camera transformations of simple things using light, colour and time – and couldn’t help but think about this animated favourite, though my gang of glassware remained resolutely stationary…

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