“The Pond” in the park

Summer 2012 has been delayed by a long long spell of wet, grey weather. When the sun breaks through it is if summer has arranged to arrive all at once, on a particular day and not with its usual, irregular rhythms.

On each sunny day recently I have taken myself into the nearby parks, Golden Acre and Meanwood parks and the Hollies. These are large parks, with hills and gullies, lawns and forests as well as water.

Because I had recently read Gerry Badger’s excellent essay on John Gossage I was particularly drawn to the water. John Gossage is best known for his photobook The Pond, which was a project always designed to culminate in a photobook (rather than an exhibition). That book has recently been re-issued and the images mounted as an exhibition. So I have had the opportunity to listen to an hour-long interview with John Gossage about that project.

Lots of involvement, lots of stimulus. But that does not mean that I wanted to take John Gossage-like photos. In fact, I am not at all sure of what kind of photos I do want to take.

There are so many purely technical uncertainties about photos like these.

The abundance of green foliage is part of what draws me to the scene. But green is a tricky colour. How green (meaning how saturated, how warm/cool) does one want ones greens to be? And what about that profusion of detail? How detailed does one want to be?

I am attracted by the idea of a picture into which the eyes can ‘walk’. It was a notion much beloved of my father. The colour version above does, I think, give a pretty good idea of what it might be like to walk that ground, skirting that little patch of water.

The black and white version is perhaps a little harder to decode. The detail seems more profuse because it is no longer organised into colours. The black and white version could be processed somewhat differently, it is true. I could make areas of the background a little darker in order to bring out the organising role of that log.

I like the idea of profusion. I want to record the way that each blade of grass, each twig, takes its own path into the light, and up into the air.

So I have been experimenting with a variety of different kinds of composition, using tone and texture, and a range of different processing techniques, to understand this subject matter better.

Some photographers have spent their whole career exploring such subtleties. I have no wish simply to reproduce their ways of seeing. Much of my childhood was spent in cool, dark, green places filled with dappled sunlight and almost never silent. I am finding my own way to get in touch with the meaning that childhood experience still has for me.

This is really part of another larger project. So I wont over burden this page with images or reflections. That project has so far had two titles Phototropics and Struggling Towards the Light. I will be developing the project over summer 2012, drawing on the images I have already taken but also taking things in new directions…

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One thought on ““The Pond” in the park”

  1. Wonderful photos, Lloyd. I find the difference between the colour and B/W version of the same image startlingly different on my eye. I find the B/W really quite difficult to enter. It’s almost like a visual code that I can’t decipher. I find it intriguing.

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