bjmuirhead

on writing photography life

Category: Photography

Domestic Disjunction (photograph)

Finally, and at long last, I am beginning to feel somewhat better physically and mentally, thanks to a dose or three of homoeopathic sulphur. This has resulted in a re-discovery of the urge to take photographs, and I can feel an essay, and a story or two stirring somewhere inside. The first product of this recovery is the following:

Black and White art photograph, interior of house.

Domestic Disjunction (Box)

What I am doing, in fact, is having fun with my camera phone (Huawei P9), clicking away whilst gesticulating with camera in hand. I don’t get half as many shots worth doing something with as I would like, but it is fun.

And isn’t that the point of it all?

From the root

This photograph is from a couple of years ago, and although there isn’t a root in sight… ’tis metaphorical, as I am sure you understand.

from-the-root

From the root

I particularly like this photograph because everything in it, bar one piece of vegetation, is dead, and death is the most fascinating form of life that there is.

The first dead creature I remember seeing was a dog that had been crushed by a car. I was three, or thereabout. I don’t remember much else but the intense bright red of the blood coming from its mouth, congealing on the bitumen.

I don’t remember being shocked by the sight, or surprised, or any other emotion that I’ve heard people express and write when talking about similar experiences in their own childhood. I remember the red, the stillness, the white of its teeth.

This next photograph was taken not long after a road train had done its passing.

Kangaroo run over by truck

An inner road

The dog wasn’t the only animal cadaver I saw in my childhood, but it was formative of my visual and intellectual interests, as were the many human cadavers that began to litter my life around age fourteen. Death, for some reason, pursued me; or perhaps I was pursuing death as I walked around my city. (It always was while walking, and often I walked ten or more miles to get where I was going. I was far too energetic in those youthful days.)

It seemed that wherever I went there was someone killed in an accident, or by a heart attack—or something else. I often didn’t know what had caused the death.

I also managed to see innumerable people attacked, usually between eleven in the evening and two in the morning. These people were rarely badly hurt, but for one young policeman, in the mid-seventies, who thought he could handle one old drunk woman, who managed to stab him several times before she fled, leaving him bleeding on the footpath. I never found out if he died. I didn’t want to know. My friend and I continued to our destination, while his copper mates, who should have stopped him going over in the first place, rushed to his aid.

Perhaps there is some answer as to why, for a period of more than twenty years, I encountered four, five, six, or more cadavers a year; sometimes more. Many friends moved around as much as I did, but never saw the same things. In fact, several friends, age 58 and older, still have not seen a human corpse. One wonders how they could achieve such a thing. But…

Such is death.

Step-flower (photograph)

I haven’t pointed a camera at anything for most of this year. But, at last, here is one that I quite like. Hope you like it also.

wildflowers growng through steps

Step-Flower

Against the dark within

Some years ago, when I couldn’t sleep, I walked around the town at night to tire myself out and clear my nose. I always took my phone with me and every now and then I would find something worth a photograph. This one is my favourites. It was winter, very cold, and there were dead leaves lying on the footpath everywhere. These ones particularly struck me, and with a bit of manipulation, the residual colours came out, and with a little more manipulation they almost seemed to have some life within them somewhere. Hence the title.

dead leaves

Against the dark within, 2012

I don’t walk around town any more, so I miss anything like this which might be lying around.

At the time I was told that walking around at night was very dangerous, that I would be beaten up by … well, no one could really say, except to blame teenagers. It was amusing, therefore, that in months of walking around in the early morning, (between 1.00 and 4.00am,) the only people I saw were the police passing in their patrol car. They never stopped me, or talked to me—perhaps it was my age and white hair. Instead, they started waving at me and grinning. It almost felt comforting; if only I had been able to breathe and sleep, it would have been better.

Perhaps just as amusing is that it was during this period of walking that I started to use my phone camera to create images. I think at that time I was using a Samsung Galaxy s III, and I was impressed with how good the images looked after the event, even when I played with the settings, which was something I didn’t really know how to do at the time. Manual exposures were rather tedious, but worth the effort. Mind you, this one was on automatic with flash, so it was purely manipulation which created it.

Domestic Disjunction

This thing about this shot is that I like it, but I haven’t decided what to do with it, and there is a very good chance that I never will decide. This is the closest to the original shot, but I have manipulated and messed around continuously since it was taken.

Christmas 2014

Christmas 2014

This is a series that I haven’t really done a lot with. It almost seems too difficult, even though the few I have taken in the series have worked well… at least when I knew what I wanted to do with them. This one, well, better someone else judge than I.

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