photographic essay

Not looking, through frosted glass

Here is evidence of suburban topography; an exploration of surfaces. A simulacrum of soul.

wpid-dsc_0591_5.jpg

I covered a round glass table top with small stones; touchstones for memory. Sensory evidence.

wpid-img_20150802_205223.jpgThen I was here in this room transfixed by shadows and light and swirls of cord around a dark knot. The manifestation of an inner dialogue, braking and grinding cerebral cogs. Like this tangled pulley system:

wpid-dsc_0751.jpgThis is absurd. This interminable process of observation and reconstruction. Then the sharing of it through a blog. Life through a frosted glass …

wpid-dsc_0743.jpg

… i begin to look at what’s always been here; there? Reviewing. Going in closer for the kill. Changing the angle,

wpid-dsc_0745.jpg

I need never leave this room. The cosmos unfolds itself magnificently here.

Two views of a wooden wall.

wpid-dsc_0749.jpgTwo perceptions, two receptions, tour of deception.

First time in three years I noticed this. What else have I not seen today, yesterday, the day before …

Why did I notice this today? What was I looking for? I wasn’t looking for the wall – it’s always been there, here … I suspect? I was looking elsewhere. A place less defined; a space within. I’m not sure of the difference between within and without. When I took this photograph I was inside looking out. Looking out while searching within? Where is the inside of us? Is it something like the ‘cloud’ where we keep our data, our documents and our photos? If it is, as was explained to me, in buildings all over the world, why call it a cloud? We understand what we can’t explain through metaphor. The ‘web’, ‘the net’, ‘seat of the soul’, ‘truth’,    ?    ‘indoor plumbing’.

Language forms our understanding of the world. Prevents us from understanding the world. Enlightens us, keeps us in the dark.

This window lets light in. I’m going within. I’m looking out. Prepositions locate our bodies. Am I in my body, or just wandering through it the way I walk around my house staring out of windows finding walls I never knew existed?

wpid-dsc_0746.jpg

Light is narrative.

wpid-dsc_0589_4.jpg

The lack of clarity liberates. I think sometimes it is better not to see the world clearly. I think I understand Jackson Pollock and Kandinsky and Malevich and will build a room with frosted glass for walls and for the ceiling too so that I might for the first time see the world for real.

But I won’t. I have neither the money, the plans nor the building skills. But …

I do have a roof. Here is a photograph of the roof of our boat house. Three winters ago strong winds nearly ripped it off. I paced a cement statue on it for stabilisation. There is no boat beneath the roof.

wpid-20151001_093038.jpg

Here is a fruit bowl. The fruit still in plastic with folds as delicate as crushed linen.
wpid-img_20150831_211531.jpg

Here are the elephants we bought in Mumbai where we walked in the warm rain of monsoon along The Queen’s Necklace and afterwards sat in Leopold’s Cafe with ice cold Coca-Cola and the warmth of gratitude.

wpid-dsc_0613.jpg

Somewhere in India a tree was cut down then someone brought these elephants out of the tree and we saw in them our connection with elephants in Africa where we were once chased by an old rogue who was camera shy and we spent some of our most intimate moments watching elephants, introducing our children to their grand elegance while camping in a reserve where some of our best memories of being alive were made. Now the elephants from India, like us, are 6000 km from that bush and when we notice them we might remember that once herds of elephant were commonplace, but not anymore. That is why we don’t always allow ourselves to notice them because the loss of elephants is sad and no matter the beauty of these wooden ones, they only point to what we left behind. So I keep these artefacts at a distance or in cardboard boxes for 6 years.

I am learning to let go of what was and take hold of what is . There’s a lot of beauty here.

wpid-dsc_0726.jpg

wpid-img_20150717_114240.jpg

There is also this, my dogs remind me that the patina of futility which sometimes coat ‘s my vision is an illusion.

wpid-dsc_0609.jpg

then there was rain during the night and the drops on these leaves reminded me that finding beauty in the world is not about looking for it. You have to be not looking, through frosted glass.

wpid-img_20150811_200505.jpg

By Mike Scallan

Standard

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s