Image of the week… It turns out I do have the ability to switch off

25th June 2023

It turns out I do have the ability to switch off. All thanks to the magic of the forest.
@janstradtmann greeted me at the airport with a bear hug and an excited grin. I’m lucky to have the support of this human. His ‘man van’ (no mirrors on the sun visors) housed us for a fortnight of roadtrippin around the Dubener Heide but this time without the Uniqlo thermals.
As per tradition I switched to a dummy phone void of apps and deleted any distractions. In November this had been a challenging adjustment but this time round I forgot my phone even existed. My time there is always a unique contradiction. Hectic and productive but with all the presence and clarity. It is exhausting but revitalising. Play but work. Above all it is an invaluable opportunity to connect.
As Pigeon’s nose whistles, I nestle into fresh sheets after a bath and feel happy to be home. But I could have stayed in the forest longer. Months even. However, I think part of my practice and preference is the yo-yo of where I lay. I work best in bursts. Socially too. I’m often partial to a French exit or feel the urge to escape all humans one hour into a party.
One way to balance out our schedule was to factor in some time to play with still life ideas – it added calm and silence to our schedule. I wanted to also continue working on a technique I learnt at @experimentalphotofestival . The wonderful @alkantoros @mikadoro13 ran a workshop and we played with photo paper. Like any analogue technique what seems so simple always demands tenacity and patience. On our second to last day, we finally got a result from all of our failed tests.
Since my first visit to the schools in the region I wanted to photograph the animals they kept in glass cases in the classrooms. Like photographs the animals were frozen in time. Eating a nut, balancing on a branch, or cleaning their feathers- they all stared intimately towards the viewer.This fascination increased as I noticed how prevalent animals are in the tales I am using for the project. Predators or helpful peers these animals all have character and personality. The traditional illustrations in the fables anthropomorphize each one into vivid characters
I wondered if using this paper technique to capture them could bring in the illustrative element and remove the clinical habitat.
My favourite moment came when we were in a classroom in Kemberg.
As the party of animals took position on a table I adjusted the tripod and prepared the paper. I gave Jan the sign we were ready for the 12 minute exposure and he turned to the crowd of animals after giving me one flashing glance .
“Ok guys we are ready, don’t move”

@wyatt_clarke_jones @bransch_inc @passageartresidency @janstradtmann @bert.villa