The Shadow Glows
It feels like ages since I published my last ramblings but it's only been a few weeks. My last couple of blogs were created from a very small corner of my spare bedroom, happily those days are behind me and I now have a lovely new space to play in. It's only been useable for a few days (today is Day 4). Not only did it take longer than expected to finish but it also took me quite a while to round everything up, sort it all out, have another clear out, persuade someone to help with the big furniture while in lockdown etc. etc. etc.
While it is a relief to have my new space, it is much bigger than I thought it would be, the previous 2-room layout was extremely inefficient and I hadn’t really planned for what I would do, or how I would feel once it was finished. I will admit to finding it a bit intimidating at first, lots of bare walls and empty tables, quite scary and I allowed myself to feel a bit down (unforgivable I know!!).
I mentioned this to a very good friend and his immediate response was to ask whether I had introduced myself to the space and explained how important it was to me and how it was going to be a key part of my creative journey moving forward. He also asked whether I had 'made it my own'. I brushed this off initially but after some thought I wondered if he had a point. So…
I spent yesterday making friends with my space and I feel so much more comfortable. With a cup of tea and a comfy chair I had a long chat with my room. I explained how excited I was to have such a lovely space moving forward and how I planned to explore, play and experiment over time. There were going to be no rules, boundaries or limits and most importantly, no going back. Thankfully it was a one-sided conversation so no arguments… I then spent quite a bit of time moving in some plants and festooning the place with fairy lights and Christmas baubles which will remain in place permanently (no rules!). Despite not enough fairy lights (more on order!) it's starting to feel like home.
I am now trying to remember what I was up to before everything was packed up! I was in the middle of so many things… this will take time, we don’t have on/off switches after all…
I haven’t been completely idle during this period though and have been working on a new series of images which I have called 'The Shadow Glows'. Again, I started with a single image (windows again... I know!!) but this time I have ended up with 2 sets of 6 images.
There is a phenomena called retroreflection, or the backscatter effect, which describes the scattering of light in the presence of disorder. A good example is the halo that can be seen around the shadow of a plane on the ground/cloud when viewed from the window of an aircraft. Adding to the fascination, that effect can only be seen by you, it is personal and is entirely dependent on your position relative to the elements at that exact point in time.
In these times having a 'name' for the presence of light which is not only personal and unexpected but is brighter than it should be surrounding a darkness which can seem dense and claustrophobic somehow seems appropriate. I wanted to try and draw on this concept when developing this series. My challenge now is to try and include the word 'retroreflection' onto a normal, everyday conversation as if it's a word I've always used!
I found myself initially drawn to the harsher shadows with bright colours working as contrasting elements. I think they cheered me up and helped me to focus on the play of colour amongst solid dark spaces.
Over time however different images started to reveal themselves. This led me to start to think about lightness in the presence of shadows and whether to revise my intentions for this project. Brighter colours were being replaced with more subtle spaces with an energy which felt sparkly and fresh. I decided to panel these images separately as, to me at least, they feel different.
I am starting to remember what I was up to before I stopped, many projects using the photograph as the starting point and I am excited to get going again. My studio needs to become my messy studio... I am sure it won't take long...
As an aside, I am giving a lecture (via Zoom obviously) next week to a Photographic Society based in South London. I will spend a couple of hours going through my photographic journey with the focus being very much on my more recent abstracts. If you have contacts with any organisation which you think might be interested in such an evening please feel free to pass on my details. While it is always nice to visit these places in person, using Zoom allows so much more scope in terms of relative locations, a definite advantage.
Anyway, that's it for now. Please stay sane and very safe in this strange world. Hopefully not long now... fingers crossed.
Please leave a comment to let me know what you think. I always read and reply...
As always, Inspiring!! I love hearing and seeing how your creative mind works, fairy lights and all. Enjoyed this new series of darker and lighter shades. I understand the sense of space one needs for assisting creativity, That’s my struggle with a very cramped space and a desire of a larger home put on hold due to the pandemic. Happy for you and how you embraced your new space! ?
Thank you for taking the time to comment… I am really pleased you like the new work… I am quite surprised that I managed to produce anything during all of the disruption – it probably escaped rather than being conscious work. And yes, sense of space is so important – I don’t think size of space is anywhere near as important, it’s more having somewhere that you’ve made your own and is comfortable for you to work. Such a shame about your house move, this pandemic has caused so many problems but it will pass… I hang on to that.
very interesting article, i’ m happy to read about your new “space”.
Obviously they are completely different but i think both panels are remarkable and very wonderful.
Depend on your mood as you said above.
Stay safe and i hope to see soon new work or images like these!
PS Really sorry about my english, I started to study english only in 2019 just before the lockdown number 1, after that the lesson is cancelled and now i’m studying alone 🙂
Firstly, don’t even begin to apologise about your English, your mastery of the English language is far better than many who have English as their first language!
Thank you for taking the time to post such lovely comments. I am really pleased at the response to this new work, I really didn’t know what expect as I found the work quite difficult to create, it was very stop/start given the disruption. And yes, I am very excited about my new space, I have found some more plants which I can relocate and, when my extra lights arrive, it will feel even more like home.
Take care and stay very safe.
Both sets are really beautiful Linda. I loved the first 6 with their strong vibrant colours but then saw the more subtle ones and loved them too! There is something about the second set that gives me the feeling of further spaces beyond. It is possibly to do with the darks being less dense or perhaps the lighter colours are less blocking, if that makes sense!
Sounds like you now have a great space and hopefully it will quickly feel as though it has always been. I’ve no doubt some fantastic work will be done in it!
Take care and hope to see you after lockdown.
Thank you for your lovely comments. Your sentiments about the panels are very close to mine. I love the first panel in their brighter blocks of strong colours but there is something about the second panel which I keep looking at, I think you are right, I am sure there is a better phrase than ‘less blocking’ but it exactly describes the feel I think. There is an energy about them which is certainly not planned (if you actually could plan that…) and I am excited to move forward in this style. And yes, very hopeful about my space now I have made friends with it, it was definitely a bit scary when it was finished – nice problem to solve though…
And yes, will be back in touch soon hopefully… fingers crossed only a few weeks