I remember the sensation of waking and in half sleep tracking the journey of the sunlight moving through the blinds and across the wall. The songs of birds in the trees and the silenced traffic. The skies were cloudless and seemed to be the brightest of blues. Reaching for my camera I crept out of bed and started moving silently around the room, aware of the click of the camera shutter in a still, sleeping house.
Memories of watching the blur of the moving rectangle of light slowly travelling down the tiled shower wall. I remember thinking how beautiful the early morning light was and how something so ordinary could suddenly appear extraordinarily beautiful.
As if it were yesterday, I am transported back to the sensation of moving around almost in a dreamlike state, noticing the early diffused light slowly drifting, casting a blurred palette of muted coloured shadows.
In the early weeks of the lockdown I was very restless and unsettled. Like many people I found it impossible to get back into my year 2 art project. The process of experimenting with photography and filming inside the house, in the garden, and on local walks has helped me to feel more grounded and connect with the desire to respond creatively to the context we are in.
Initially I resisted the idea of creating art as a response to Covid-19 and in many ways have struggled with this – something about the dissonance and discomfort of inhabiting multiple and different worlds – one minute having endless time, enjoying the beauty of found images, taking solace in blue skies and the blossoms of spring, juxtaposed with the impact of the ever present global pandemic like a surreal film projecting in the background of my mind.
I have come to realise that both the context and constraints we find ourselves in as artists will inevitably shape and frame our work, both consciously and unconsciously. I find myself embracing this experience and am valuing the time to be more reflective.
A few weeks ago, during a tutorial with Tony, we reviewed a selection of my photos including the 7 AM images. We discussed ideas around new looking – how something used to be and appears now, the ambiguity and instability of some of the images creating a feeling of not being sure where you are and what you are looking at.
Over the past weeks an emerging theme in my work has been playing with the notion of looking in and out and glimpsing fragments of the world. Photography has become more integral to my artistic practice. I have welcomed a somewhat heightened sensitivity to looking, resulting in a different type of noticing and responding. Currently I am in the process of embarking on making an experimental film, working with fragments of still and moving images, which I hope to put together with a poem or narrative. At the moment I am still in a state of prevarication and finding it easier to work on fragments of things.
Completing writing this blog coincides with reading the following article where acclaimed photographers from around the world share a single image reflecting on their experience of the coronavirus outbreak.
From Inside 22.04.2020. Photograph: © Nadav Kander Courtesy Flowers Gallery
I particularly liked this image by Nadav Kander and his words below:
“I find it quite a gentle, poignant image. I like the way the blind drawn between inside and outside asks questions rather than answers them. The clear view would have been less ambiguous, I guess. This is veiled – I think that makes it more alluring.”
I am wondering how the voices of these artists and their chosen images resonate with you.