Our rental house comes with an old well (this was once a farm house) which is now filled with fish, and it’s been my pleasure to feed them every day. It’s gotten to the point that when I walk by they all surface and start following me, even when it’s not feeding time.
As I scattered the food today I saw that the casting of the flakes and the rising of the fish made for a confetti-like dazzle of energy and imagery, particularly because there’s that grille (probably so that the guest’s grandchildren don’t fall in and disappear) which adds to the buzz that made it all seem so abstract and delightful, like a mardi gras for goldfish.
What has been interesting to me about this process of a picture-a-day is the outcome of any given day’s seeing. Because, surely, that is all this is about. For example; if someone asked me, “Joel, what did you make a photograph of today” and I answered, “well…there were some goldfish….” it would, on the face of it, sound inane, and maybe seem as if I had abandoned my standards. But here is what this whole discipline is becoming for me, now that I have completed 2 months of it. It is an exercise in opening up the limits that a lifetime of working can impose on any one of us. And so for 5 minutes I stood there, still as a stone, and just let it all play for me, and the trance was hard to leave, but then I snapped out of it, leaned in, and made a photograph.
It’s become a way of looking harder at my quotidian comings and goings, and thus pushing me to make something out of what normally could be overlooked. My freshening sense is that like confetti, the random juxtapositions that daily looking offers may awaken some new idea that I might not have considered had this not been risked.
In your introduction to the blog you described having lived for a year in the south of France and made maybe 15,000 images and that you would post an image or so a day from that group. The first few posts were often voiced in the past tense, which seemed to fit the framework, but I note that you have changed to the present tense. Can you discuss that change? Is this a retrospective process or are we walking with you now on a new journey where the story isn’t finished yet?
You have asked an important question, one, in fact, that I have been considering myself as I write each day. Yes, the images are all from that one year experience, yes, I see the conflict. But this daily writing and reconsideration has given me a way to address the works and my thoughts using a layered, temporal language, one that sweeps all 50+ years into the mix and blends the recent past of the photograph with the memory of it today. So my reflections in this moment are both reconstructions and instantaneous responses. I am searching for the right voice for these photographs and how they work for me today. Thank you for your perceptive reading of my words.
This is still an enjoyable image. It has something of the current Japanese photobook about it for me. When the chance arose last year I decided now was finally the time to go back to school and do a degree in photography. I am far for your skill, ability and achievement, but I do love looking at the world in the way you describe. A part of the current project is to respond to a word by the tutor and to produce an image for the next week in one with that word. I enjoy the way it gives me focus for my looking and can see how this current project allows you to do something similar, albeit at the other end of the range in achivement, perhaps with a similar sense of reward?
Thanks as always for the continuing daily connection with this project and you incredibly interesting view on the world and photography.
this one brought to mind Japanese antique ikat fabric when I first saw it the other day, and then a photo I took since then of part of the face of a West End apartment building from a taxi that was covered with a kind of flat net (like the grid in your photo, even similar in colors) marked regularly with almost-vermillion small lines (as if drawn, but as things, I don’t know what they are, ribbons perhaps) that reminded me of your goldfish and your fabric-related photo of water and goldfish and grid. I would put those two photos side by side. Yours has the magic of fluidity and flatness. Just to know it’s water, then to let the knowing inform seeing… Whereas in mine I think there’s also a visual mystery of what it is, or can be, in one’s ways of seeing.