Sunday, 3 April 2011

Ways of seeing

It's been a week of new visions. First up is the pleasant surprise that my new camera, Uncle Lubitel, mostly works, and that he found the Anish Kapoor sculptures currently lurking ominously around Kensington Gardens interesting enough to capture them. It may have been an act of vanity - the camera is in the picture, in the hands of a woman in a long dark coat... This huge curve of mirror was an appropriate subject for Lubitel, creating the same back-to-front version of the world that appears when you look down into the top of the camera and use the glass square to frame the photograph, with trees moving in the wrong direction as you swerve round it.

 Perhaps Diana was feeling the threat of Lubitel's novelty, and his altogether more grown-up approach to representation, but she too came up with something entirely new - this time veering even further from reality than she normally does. I had loaded her with slide film, not realising the implications when it came to processing: that the positive image would have to be reversed into a negative to be printed as a photograph. Happily this reversal has some gorgeous effects on the colours in the images. Snow turned pink and the sky turned mauve.

The river around Henley-on-Thames, where I must have walked thousands of times, was magical enough at Christmas when I took Diana out with my brother and his digital camera. Diana's images are like memories of a dream, where the even the most familiar landscapes have an element of the strange about them.

Lastly, my own vision of the world, cameras aside, has been dramatically improved by the onset of my month off work. The difference struck me most profoundly as I passed through another familiar place - a hillside on the edge of Epping Forest where I like to stop and think. I've been there in happy and sad moments, and returning brings with it the memory of how I felt the last time, the contrast always bringing my current state into focus. There is a lone haystack at the bottom of the hill at the moment, just where I cut through the portal in the hedge from shady path to open field.

Yesterday, hours of walking having silenced the internal babble, I arrived here and wallowed in contentment for a while, a feeling I hope I remember with clarity the next time. For the rest of this month I will be dashing from London to France to Spain to Wales and back again, which may leave little chance for blogging, but should provide ample opportunities for new ways of seeing.