2000 Graves.

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In my second year of  my BA i took a series of intuitively performed photographs where i took on various positions and ideas in a repetitive environment. It was in an old, ornate graveyard not too far from my house. In the further pursuit of the elusive Morse image, i have decided to return to this site from my past, the location of a previous shooting.

Here i decided to remember the place and time where the poor wretch died, and prepared for the murder of another. I shot a decent number of images and have decided on a few for potentials, or at least experiments into the shooting of an inventor.

These quantum fluxuations in the murder, or many murders of a man, have played out through time and space. Resulting in the events that you have seen before you. Before the suspect returns to his own dimension in the universe.

All Watched Over By Systems Of Impossible Inability.

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Adam Curtis is a man that i have mentioned before in this blog. He is one of the best documentary makers currently working in the world today and a great influence upon my work and outlook as a whole. Recently he has created a new documentary entitled “All Watched Over By Machine Of Loving Grace”.

In this he discusses how the onset of computer and technological advancements have lead us to view society as a rational, mathematical system. This has not only lead to a degradation of an individuals identity by classing them as a parts in a system of control. This of course has proven not only false but disastrous especially when humans, as inherently unpredictable beings, caused too many variables. This means that computers are simply what we put into them, but we rather than them, are the flawed machines.

This is relevant to my current work as the idea of the world and then the universe as a coherent system governed by rationality is ultimately wrong. Reality is violent and unpredictable, chaos is the natural order of things and much like quantum events, the results are long form and we as a species are often unable to truly know the inevitable consequences of our actions.

It is an incredibly interesting piece and very much worth watching. He also has a blog which he produces small articles and archive video clips from the BBC. It’s a great website and is well worth a look.


The Subtle Bellocq Works.

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Ernest Joseph Bellocq was a Photographer, who was lost to history until strangely rediscovered by Lee Friedlander. From 1917 to his death, he is known for work in which he would hang around the area of Storyville, the Red Light District in New Orleans. While there is an obvious degree of potential for perversion within this body of work, there is a strange trait that is in several of his images, that changes the meaning and proves remarkably sinister.

These scratched out faces are at first shocking. A twisted, almost self loathing of the artist, that he is almost repulsed by what he’s done. Or maybe not? Maybe he is simply trying to protect the identity of these young potentially vulnerable women? Or, by removing the face, he is hyper fetishising the physical form. Trying to reduce these women to their sexual components for his own gratification.

Whatever the reason, the aesthetic is a powerful one. And relevant to the visuals of my own photography, removing the face to provide an anonymous character to lessen the attachment to the constant identity of the performer.

Murder #3. Friedrich Gerber.

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“A curious fellow was Herr Gerber. Long was it known that he was an avid collector and hoarder of the strange and intricate parts of the clocks that adorned the walls of his native land. Coils and wires and cogs and brackets were strewn through his humble chalet in the alps. It was these, that many had suggested, had caused him to pass into the depths of lunacy unto which the fool ended himself. One supposes he was driven cuckoo.”

Morse And The Magic Bullet.

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Samuel F. B. Morse. Probably one of the greatest inventors of his age and known of course for his code. But also, one of the great inventors that had engaged with early photography. And much like Mr Morse, i have dabbled in a new medium also, the curious world of video making.

This was a bit of an experiment for me, i’m honestly not sure how it has turned out and would welcome your opinion. One thing that has struck me however is that the coded flash, strangely resembles the flashes of photons on a photo detector in the infamous double slit experiment (see previous post), a rather serendipitous event if you don’t mind my use of the word serendipitous.

Self Portrait As A Loyalist Militiaman.

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Recently, i was remembering the work of a good friend of mine. For her major project in the Masters Degree i am studying for now, she had examined one of the most famous images in all photography. Robert Capa’s Loyalist Militiaman at the Moment of Death.

This image is now widely believed to have been faked. Geographic surveys have put the terrain of the photograph to be at least 35 miles away from where it was said to have been taken in Cerro Muirano. A fictional photograph of a mans death. This suddenly sparked a sudden link between this image and the Self Portrait As  A Drowned Man image that i have based almost the past 4 years (and counting) work on.

As a conceptual ideal, is there any real difference between this one and that of the militiaman? Both fictional deaths with a motive behind them. Both using the fundamental ideal that the camera never lies to emphasise and promote an issue. Apart from the fact that one was an open fraud from the beginning and the others veracity was defended to the bitter end, i see no actual conceptual difference between them. And so, i am left to dream:

“The corpse which you see here is that of S. Garcia, loyal to the end as you have just seen, or the marvellous victory of which you are going to see. To my knowledge this ingenious and indefatigable patriot has been fighting for about three years with his enemy. The Nationalists, the Communists and all those who have seen his wrath, that he himself found justified; have admired it as you do at this moment. This has brought him much honor but has not yielded him a single farthing. The government, having given too much to S. Franco, has said it could do nothing for S. Garcia, and the unhappy man has been assassinated. Oh! The fickleness of human affairs! Artists, scholars, journalists were occupied with him for a long time, but here he has been at the scene for several days, and no one has recognized or claimed him. Ladies and gentlemen, you’d better pass along for fear of offending your sense of smell, for as you can observe, the resolve of the gentleman is beginning to decay.”

Studio Days.

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As i felt was required by some of my work, i decided to use the studio and equipment available at uni. Several of the photos i needed to do i felt necessitated a controlled environment, and crucially, one with a white background without any extraneous information.

Here are some of the test shots/general documentation of my day in there. Specifically relating to the death of Mr Breyer, an unverified German photographer that is named in the list. He was to be hit by a very familiar train.

So Long And Thanks For All The Photons.

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Light, as a physical entity, is the central material of  photography (It’s in the name of course; Photo = Light, Graph = To Draw). It is as dependant on it as ears are to the sound waves that reach them. It is almost so inconceivably ubiquitous that as an idea that has never truly been understood by most people, and i am certainly not claiming to be one of those people who do, that would be a gross over-estimation of my intelligence.

Light is made up of Photons. These are discrete packages of electromagnetic energy or a “quantum” as they are known, put simply, they are just coiled up bundles of energy. These as many people are aware are the particles that can naturally move at the speed of light, which is 2.998 x 108 m/s inside a vacuum, or free space. Which is bloody quick.

They are also subject to something called Wave-Particle Duality. This essentially means that while a photon acts as a particle, it simultaneously acts as a wave. This means that it is not only subject to the standard laws regarding particles, but it also has an amplitude, a wavelength and a frequency. This can be demonstrated by something called the Double Slit Experiment.

Interestingly, the gentleman with the beard in the video is called Mark Oliver Everett. Not only is he the lead singer and guitarist of the band EELS, but his father Hugh Everett III was the physicist who came up with the original hypothesis for the Many Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics. This idea of parallel possibilities in almost every single instant everywhere is certainly mind boggling.

But since photography fundamentally relies on photons to simply exist, and since photons are subject to these quantum laws that we have discussed, therefore photography is an inherently quantum event. Therefore for every single photograph ever taken there is an almost infinite number of parallel photographs. Not just based on perspective, composition and the image maker, but throughout all of the universe and time too.

Every time you take a photograph, you cause reality to shatter into a trillion and one pieces.

You Monster.

Jeff Wall

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I got a Jeff Wall book for christmas this year. And i have always been of the opinion that he is a fantastic photographer, so as an influence on me and as research for my project, i hear-by put some of his photos on my blog. As is always done in visual diaries/blogs.

One day Nietzsche and Bergson walk into a Bar…

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Comedy/Humour is something that is so important to me that i feel that attempting to writing it down would be an insult to it. But the actual reason behind comedy is a very strange one. It might sound peculiar to ask “Why do we laugh?” but when you think about it in an evolutionary sense there is no advantage or disadvantage to being able to find something amusing.

Many have hypothesised it to be a form of outward semiotic coding. As proto-humans lived in small communities and would often have to rely on other members of their tight social circle for basic needs and survival. To increase the bonds between them and to limit selfish behaviour, they would demonstrate emotional similarities to each other, using this to limit any chance of being excluded from the vital social network.

Henri Bergson the french philosopher, stated that as the above may suggest, laughter and humour are strictly human constructs:

“The first point to which attention should be called is that the comic does not exist outside the pale of what is strictly HUMAN. A landscape may be beautiful, charming and sublime, or insignificant and ugly; it will never be laughable. You may laugh at an animal, but only because you have detected in it some human attitude or expression. You may laugh at a hat, but what you are making fun of, in this case, is not the piece of felt or straw, but the shape that men have given it,–the human caprice whose mould it has assumed. It is strange that so important a fact, and such a simple one too, has not attracted to a greater degree the attention of philosophers. Several have defined man as “an animal which laughs.” They might equally well have defined him as an animal which is laughed at; for if any other animal, or some lifeless object, produces the same effect, it is always because of some resemblance to man, of the stamp he gives it or the use he puts it to.” (Bergson, Henri. Laughter: An Essay On The Meaning Of The Comic. Maryland: Arc Manor, 2008).

However these natural/evolutionary ideas fail to account for another side of humour. The taking pleasure in others misfortune, or as its more commonly known, Schadenfreude.

Nietzsche said that laughter at another’s misfortune was illegitimate. It is not from anything you have done to deserve the laughter, you have simply won a victory by default.

This is an idea that is quite pertinent to my current project. The murderer of the inventors taking a perverse delight and enjoyment in the suffering and demise of those he as decided must be punished. This would then of course contradict Nietzsche’s interpretation of schadenfreude as an undeserved burst of pleasure. After all, as a man jilted by his peers who then may have very well taken enjoyment from his misfortune, have now fallen victim to their own laughter. As it has now been flipped and is now enacted upon them. Say what you want about the murderer, but he definitely deserves his revenge.