Friday, 11 March 2011

I don't count the feathers, I just count the wings. Part 1

I once bought a very expensive Japanese photo book purely because of one image of some geta (traditional wooden Japanese shoes) that were a perfect circle when placed together. I have yet to own a pair, but one day I will. Perhaps what I like about them most is that they are very architectural, you can have a city under your feet! They act like the drawers in Lartigue's wonderful picture he took as a boy. The chest of drawers loom above the toy racing cars like skyscrapers or the sign of life to come, from the happy playful world of childhood to the taller adult world ahead. His carefully hung backdrop sheet reveals the purpose it serves, yet the surround furniture places a scale that dwarfs the toy cars. Linking the 2 ideas together I drew this idea on a post-it note, so now I'm posting it!

It made me think about the crossover between photography & architecture & how those 2 things connect to one another. You could also see the influence our childhood has upon adulthood & vice versa. At the ripe old age of 'thirty something' I seem to be having a regression, no, a need to let myself enjoy childish things in order to open my eyes to the wonder of deeper things. As a child who loved heights (once climbing up a silver birch tree higher than our house to hang out & watch the world, nearly giving my mum a heart attack as she thought I had gone missing) I could see that they would play an important part in my life. The clarity that comes from a different viewpoint of the world & the insight it can help you gain is worth the climb. Looking at art of any kind is like this too. We respond to art on many levels, emotionally, academically & even physically. But to really understand it you have to literally climb into it.

With this in mind, doing this blog has made me look at many things differently, finding new visual connections I would have perhaps never even considered before the internet became part of our everyday life. To my surprise a pair of shoes by designer Andreia Chaves sparked my attention this week. These invisible wonders reflect the world around them to render them invisible. Yet the playful architectural nature of them looks very clever & serious at first until you realise how odd a person would look wearing them, like a levitating footless woman, can't be a good look after all.

Again floating upward I am reminded of the birds, ravens to be exact. I won't say too much about this subject as I may be writing a magazine article about this series quite soon. Needless to say Fukase's 'Solitude of Ravens' is a classic book. (The prints I have seen were posthumous & not editioned so the book is a better bet from a collectors point of view.) Each beady eye on view seems to be a hole right through the raven's head's or to reflect like a cat's eye at the same time. This disturbing duality perhaps comes from Japanese mythology & the Shinto Goddess, Amaterasu, who was said to transform into a raven. The silhouette of the raven seen here has become an icon in the photographic canon. At a dark time for the photographer -whose wife had left him -Fukase obsessively photographed ravens, (traditionally seen as representing disruption, loneliness & restlessness) for 10 years! Sad as this is I'm just glad he did.

Picture credits:
Masahisa Fukase Karasu (Ravens) 1986
Laura Noble Skyscraper Geta March 2011, Biro on Post-it
Jacques-Henri Lartigue, ‘Dans ma chambre, collection de mes autos de course’, 1905, gelatin-silver print

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