The idea of incorporating text is a contentious one as I’ve never really done it before for project work on this course, and also, I think it can make or break a photo. I’ve recently come across so many great uses (in my opinion) of accompanying text used to narrative effect in very different formats and with very different results (and simply wanted to include them as I like them, find them exciting, challenging and engaging).
Seeing as there isn’t really enough space left on my A5 preliminary notes to adequately see how the sequence and text (and its presentation) will look, I thought I would try a dummy run here to see how it might turn out. These are NOT the final sequence and may change before submission.
After dabbling with a self imposed torturous battle with myself and which type of text to use with this set, I have finally decided to stick with a Duane Michals’ inspired poetry under each photo. Even accompanying text will be ‘rendered’ poetic by the way it will be presented – to hopefully keep some homogeneity, cohesion both visually and conceptually. That may develop into some sort of text ON the photos themselves when I print them later.
“This city is afraid of me
I have seen its true face*
Of what Reinhart and Malevic didn’t see
And which Robert Fludd left no trace.”
*First two lines from Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons, Watchmen, 1986-1987, DC Comics (p1 issue 1 caption one).
“If I were dim as the sun,
Night I’d drill
with the rays of my eyes.”
-Vladimir Mayakovsky, 1916, excerpt from:
To his Own Beloved Self The Author Dedicates These Lines; photo by Andre Rodchenko
“Mapplethorpe’s anguish like Margaret’s smile,
Was De Mesquita’s pupil with no mathematical guile;
Volkmann’s impassiveness would make Kertész ask,
If like Gillian we’re always wearing a mask;
And if Moore opened the door to perception,
Would Ted Hughes’ muse be Godwin’s intention?;
Marjane’s stories and Andy’s construe,
Would make Rodchenko black you out too;
Then what of Peggy Sue in a Daguerreotype?
And Amelie in a Hollywood stereotype?
As Muslim girls dance in Amsterdam,
Was Strand more French than Uncle Sam?
From those amazing blueprints by Sir Herschel,
To Turk’s fake portrait commercial;
In awe of Cameron’s Iago with his downward gaze,
Never to see Gaiman’s gift to amaze;
Yet here I am to witness them stand tall,
On my train ride going nowhere, nowhere at all.”
-K. Byrne, mid Dec 2016.
“Squealing under city stone
The millions on the millions run,
Every one a life alone,
Every one a soul undone:
There all the poisons of the heart
Branch and abound like whirling brooks
And there through every useless art
Like spoiled meats on a butcher’s hooks
Pour forth upon their frightful kind
The faces of each ruined child:
The wrecked demeanors of the mind
That now is tamed, and once was wild.”
-James Agee, 1937 (Reuter, 2016)
“I’ll use you when I want to – not when you do.
I’m so in control, so strong, so deluded it’s untrue.
A modern God making me the walking dead,
Who knows what it’s doing to my head.
I’ve become like a ‘mombie’ on the march,
But not me, no way.
-K. Byrne, mid Dec 2016.
“Immediately I sprang into action, experimenting toward realizing this vision. Dressed up as a tourist, I walked into a cheap cinema in the East Village with a large-format camera. As soon as the movie started, I fixed the shutter at a wide-open aperture, and two hours later when the movie finished, I clicked the shutter closed. That evening, I developed the film, and the vision exploded behind my eyes.”
“…What this one here? Yeah, well, she gave it to us years ago when she last visited us – can’t remember now when exactly but it was years ago. I never really liked it at the time, to tell you the truth, seemed pointless to give us something like that. I mean, we see that sort of stuff all the time here, you know? – ten to the dozen round here they are. Don’t get me wrong, we weren’t ungrateful or anything, it’s just, you know, what could we do with it? No disrespect or anything, but we would’ve been better off with the bleedin’ money, you know? [laughs]…”
In conversation with the author, late June 1989; later published in Madstock’s The Definitive Guide to Being Blatantly Screwed by the Local Community’s Ridiculous Take on Those Numbnut Tourist and Their Willingness to Part with Pots of Money for a Pile of Arranged Rocks, 2nd edition (C. Twat., 1990). [Bill Owens/Jim Goldberg/ inspired]
Shot 8 – Here I am looking to include a collection of writings from different sources re Struth’s Chicago gallery shot; an almagamation of texts from Cotton (2009, pp97-8); Higgins (2014, p60); and Fried (2008, pp119-121)
“Conscious of looking
not only at the clearly depicted subject
But also at the photographic form
into which they have been projected
Reveal much about collective cultural behaviour
Public yet strangely isolated and mannered
as they individually engage
with the spectacle of history
the potential for including a marriage
of a contemporary moment and a historical moment
in one photographic plane
to retrieve masterpieces
from the fate of fame
the depicted scene
deliberately and conspicuously engages
the idea of the physical permeability
Nothing more than a pictorial fiction
in the end almost actively indifferent
to her very existence
that sense of exclusion
the sense of uncommunicating realms”
This text is taken from the MOMA website where you can see the front cover of the 1936 Penny Picture Display from which I got the fictional cover and magazine idea used for this sequence.
“Evans explored the United States of the 1930s
—its people, its architecture,
its cultural symbols (including photographs)—
with the disinterested eye of an archaeologist
studying an ancient civilization.
Penny Picture Display might be interpreted
as a celebration of democracy
or as a condemnation of conformity.
Evans takes no side.”
“All these years of arseholes; arseholes farting on and staining me with their putrid stenches; Bitches and wenches, drunks and punks, leaving their dust and tears to enter every part of me like I don’t do enough for them as it is; plastering me with their symbols, and images all of which come and go; sad as it is, I am not alone, there are the others with me – they too ripped from their duties, stripped of their meanings, placed in this place, put in the dungeon – this prison of nostalgia, in this resource wasting waste of space; gazed upon like freaks of nature, freaks in a show; relics of your vanity, remnants of your passage through time, watching your noisy brief journey, your wonderfully sad raping of everything; we are glorified by your lights as ours have grown dim – you shelter us, this at least we accept; but let us decompose naturally as all things should, without your eyes, and photographs, without your pity or your pride; I have wheels yet I cannot move, let me move again, roar again; let me live again.”
Excerpt from The Train Carriage Interviews (this excerpt: 1938 Northern Line London Underground train, edited version); Unfortunately, a totally fictional collection of interviews, but something that might be an interesting idea to develop on as a personal project: the unheard voices of the forgotten, or something: looking at the common everyday objects all around us, and interviewing them? Ok, not actually interviewing them, but imagining that I were! Imagine the possibilities here: an interview in Chinese (electronic devices), Vietnamese trainers, old Russian Cameras arguing with Japanese ones?
Would like to include commentary here based on Mark Power’s The Shipping Forecast. Unlike Power, I won’t be visiting the place mentioned in the forecast as I intend to invent my own forecast pertinent to the image presented (shot 11), although I do intend to keep the format of the text similar to the standard braodcasts, that being: place, wind, rain and finally visibility. Something along the lines of this:
“Variable 3 or 4, Becoming southeasterly, at times, Rough, or very rough, occasionally high, Showers everywhere, Moderately good, occisionally very poor, eventually dark, or even black”
Moore to end (and start again?)? Would like to use possibly Dave Gibbons’ comments (taken from my own copy) from the Absolute edition of the Watchmen which has a lot of notes and sketch work from the authors at the back and end with Gibbons’ text (of which this is an excerpt):
“Suffice is to say,
proud though we are of this work of fiction,
We humbly acknowledge that the truth
is infinitely more wonderful;
depressing though it is to consider
that Richard Nixon’s signature
is on the moon,
the fact that there really is a smiley face
on the planet Mars
is strangley heartening.
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