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‘Small squares in perpetual motion’

‘Small squares in perpetual motion, one penetrating the other, one emerging from the other: building, unbuilding, a city of windows on windows; right and left the two corners rising asymmetrically and just beyond, noiseless, the great collapse in the midst of noiseless motion…’ from ’Fever’ by Yannis Ritsos, translated by Edmund Keeley. Ritsos (1909 – […]

‘Dim shadows within emptiness’

I’ve been reading ’In Praise of Shadows’ by Junichiro Tanizaki (1933). It’s an elegy for an older Japanese aesthetic of dim lights and shadows. He regrets the coming world of electricity and bright illumination. He describes what he loves about old-fashioned interiors: ‘An empty space is marked off with plain wood and plain walls, so […]

‘Midweek, ash-black and ash-white’

‘Who could have known, in 1959, the balloon would not go up? Who could have seen, back then, the new world’s new disorder? John Ruskin says all clouds are masses of light, even the darkest ones Hard to remember that these overcast afternoons, Midweek, ash-black and ash-white, negative shapes sketched in And luminous here and […]

‘Ancient darkness rushes in.’

From ’Newgrange’ by Thomas R. Smith, an account of a visit to a burial chamber in Ireland. ‘We know that cremated remains were brought here. possibly the flint-hewn basins were for birthing. On sunrise at Winter Solstice light plays down the passage all the way to the inner chamber for about seventeen minutes, assuming clear […]

‘The lights of home are somewhere behind me..’

‘But what I remember is standing on the back seat of a Galaxie 500, looking out the rear window as my mother drives along unlit country roads. I stare, with a deep thrill I can’t name, at the black sky above and then at the rushing road below, so briefly illuminated by the car’s taillights […]

‘Controlled recklessness…the bite of chemicals’

In 1999, Marc Atkins and Iain Sinclair published a book together, ‘Liquid City’ – writing by Sinclair, black and white photography by Atkins. It’s a portrait of an already vanished London: Bankside power station before it became Tate Modern, Canary Wharf with just the one tall tower. Atkins’ photos are grainy, dark, imperfect, in the […]

Resin coated v Fibre based

See the rather broken, jagged lines between the horizontal sections of this collage? That’s what happens when you tear across a fibre-based print. You can only make the tear once: fiddle about any more and you risk a mess. It’s because fibre-based paper is heavier, thicker and more brittle than the resin-coated variety. As the […]

The cost of photographic paper

I made this image a good few years ago, when I couldn’t afford to spend much money on photographic paper. And this is a large image, 16 inch by 12, when most of my photos are more like 8 x 8. It’s in the nature of photograms that you can’t know the end result till […]

‘What do these nothings mean?’

A harsher, more stark black and white contrast than for many of my photos; for this image I treated the photogram like a monoprint. If the photographic surface has developer on it before exposure to light, the developer shows up as a white area. So for this photo I scattered developer on pieces of the […]

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