A few more on this Friday from this 2020 trip to a curvaceous field of flax.
I must have been drawn to the subtle, graphical quality of this mown path at Mount Ephraim, enjoying its scorch and desaturation, and that lovely curving line. Whatever the reason, I liked it enough to take a photograph of it back in the late summer of 2009 and squirrel it away until now.
A random bunch of umbellifers – dates and locations long-since forgotten – but likely dating from the early noughties, and all photographed on 35mm slide film originally.
Consider this a sequel of sorts, as back in March 2021, I photographed and catalogued a selection of my own keepsakes, the emotional importance of which I couldn’t actually remember. Molly Drake’s small, beautiful song, I Remember isn’t so much about the fallibility of memory, but rather the different ways in which we remember the same thing. Drake’s song – prompt for The Kick-About No.61 – also captures very truthfully how the significance of something can be quite wasted on someone else – even those closest to us.
With this in mind, I turned my attention to some of the objects with which I share my home, but with which I have no emotional association, but which resonate very powerfully with my husband. I see a rather retro-looking glass paperweight, while my husband experiences a Proustian rush returning him at once to the comforts of his grandparents’ home and all the love he found there.
There are objects collected here the provenance of which is still unknown to me, and their emotional heft as mysterious, but ‘he remembers firelight’.
An early foray into all things glowy and mysterious from the summer of 2013, working with 35mm film and a rather antiquated camera. This photograph was taken out in the dark arena of rough grass and old trees beyond the shambolic terrace of the old French house, where ‘noises off’ included the indignant hooting of owls and other, less identifiable rustlings and the cracking of unseen twigs under the weight of unseen things…
On Saturday, August 6th, it was Whitstable’s carnival, a fascinating expression of quirk and eccentricity, combining all the sea-centric elements you might expect from this long-standing tradition with more off-kilter entries.
This year, alongside the papier-mâché effigies and pirates, we were treated to an Elvis impersonator riding a mobility scooter upholstered with cuddly toys, some Oompa Loompas, a gaggle of flower-powered hippies, and a corgi-headed page-boy… The whole town came out to line the streets to wave the procession on in all its eclectic, ad-hoc glory and there was tangible sense of time travel, of witnessing something that has ‘always been’. That said, the carnival itself has been imperilled of late, seeing waning interest and investment in the event, but this year’s procession marked something of a renewal. I certainly enjoyed the strangeness and feral expressiveness, with nothing but admiration for those more performative souls who were out there making it happen for the rest of us.
I wanted to end by sharing this final image, which captures something of that sensation of time travel, for while this photograph was taken at last Saturday’s carnival, it could also have been taken a great many years earlier; the ghost of carnivals long-since passed is flickering here.
These photographs were taken on the day after the UK saw those uncanny, record-breaking temperatures. We went to the beach to escape the strange temperature of our terraced house and swam gratefully in the shallowing sea. A few people wondered what I was doing with my camera pushed into a translucent bag and photographing into the sun, but I was out there, experimenting, gunning for heat haze and the shimmer. Turns out that double-wrapping the lens with gauze makes moonlight out of sunshine.
Another night in 2015, and another happening, and I think Rod Serling would have approved of this one!
A second collection of photographs inspired by the watercolour paintings of Augustus Osbourne Lamplough, our most recent Kick-About prompt. In order to emulate the soft tonal range of Lamplough’s landscapes, I photographed this unkempt basin of umbellifers and grasses through gauze to flatten everything out and spread the sunlight liberally. In some of these images you can see the weave of the gauze producing a cross-hatching effect across the surface of the image.
I wasn’t familiar with Augustus Osbourne Lamplough’s work (our latest Kick-About muse) but I find his paintings completely magical, and can hardly believe they’re paintings at all, in so much as all that soft golden light and gauze is produced from paint and brushes onto paper.
In Lamplough’s landscapes, I find the impressionism and light-play I always want from my own photographs, and it was a happy coincidence the Lamplough prompt should arrive in the same week I was experimenting with physical gauzes to produce more diffuse lighting effects of my own.
Suitably inspired, I returned to a local bit of unadopted scrub set just back from the sea front (last seen here under very different circumstances) and indulged once more my love of grasses, in all their billowing contours. First putting my camera into an organza bag, I proceeded to photograph the scrub as the wind pushed it this way and that, and the sun illuminated every quill and strand of it. Meanwhile, the gauze served to flatten everything out and flood the subject with light, producing some Lamplough-like atmospheres from a largely over-looked landscape. There are a few more to follow in coming days.