Wednesday 27 December 2023

End of year memorial: October

I went to Pixel Perfect on 3 Oct to pick up prints of photos I’d asked for. The photos that I wanted to put into albums dated back as far as 2007. Once I started doing the work on my dining table having sorted out which packets of prints went together it was a thrill. I felt as if I was seeing the images for the first time, they sprang to life and I got the feeling that I was walking down the street 15 years in the past. These photos are different from TEFA but led into TEFA.

With some of the photos the way I worked with my digital camera was to stroll through town snapping away and trying to get the photos to blur. In fact on a particular day marking one of the batches of photos I started out by going to an art show opening at a commercial space that is now closed called Stills Gallery. I travelled there on the train from where I lived in Campsie. 

I took photos of the crowd listening to the presentation given by staff, standing in a circle of patrons, and because the interior of the building was dark the photos tended to blur. I guess looking back – but I cannot be certain because I made no record of the event – that this functioned as a revelation. Once I got outside to walk back to the train I took more photos but this time I tried to make the photos blur, and I was successful so that now I have hundreds of blurred images taken on my Canon PowerShot A530 showing average Sydneysiders walking down a range of city streets – I couldn’t however reconstruct my itinerary if I wanted to, and I do want to – just minding their business being completely unaware (in most cases) that their image – though blurred often into incoherence – has been captured for all time. Even if they were aware at the time there is almost no chance that a memory of that event has remained in their memory. The photos are the only trace that exists outside my mind and even in my mind there is most of all a blank, hence the lack of a record in memory of the route that I walked to get back to the station.

I completed two albums in two days and ordered more albums online. It felt good handling the photos, hundreds of them, and used my printer upstairs to make labels to go on the fronts of the albums, describing what is inside. 

I also did something different as well, busying myself thinking up new ways to use longer poems in artworks. In the past I’d made “paramontages” – synthetic combines of photos and poems printed at the print shop, all on one sheet – and now I invented a new way, combining photos, poems and watercolours, each panel in A5 size so that they could be framed together as four individual points of reference. I put the panel containing the text at the bottom on the right to make it easier for people standing in the room to read the poem. I thought this would be a good way to get general approval for my longer poems, ones that people who’d seen some of the complex paramontages had rejected. 

It was great to have this epiphany, and to put the relevant files on a thumb drive so that I could take them to the print shop, which I did on 6 Oct, the same day I drove into town to buy ground fresh coffee.

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