Creativity, Darkness & Solace
In Grayson Perry’s book Playing to the Gallery, right at the end he uses the following metaphor for his artistic practice. ‘It is a refuge, a place inside my head, where I can go on my own and process the world and it’s complexities. It’s an inner shed where I can lose myself’
I can relate to that, my film photography is that refuge allowing me to reflect. Not so much to process the world but process my world and try to make sense of my complexities. Actually it is not about making sense, it is just acknowledging that they exist and they are part of me. Stripping stuff back to a manual camera, light meter and a roll of film, simplifies what I do. Not allowing me to overthink or add complexity when it is not required, just 2 variables to work with.
My darkroom is my shed, it is not a metaphorical inner shed it exists. But with the light off, I just focus on the process. Time just drifts away.
I have a strange relationship with darkness. In the darkroom it is a source of comfort, solace, a safety blanket wrapped around me. Now my hypersensitivity comes in useful, I can be careless and drop a film canister and I know instinctively where it is on the floor. When I run on the fells, in the dark, in my bubble of light, the darkness is not a threat. But at home things change. I create corridors of light, linking rooms. I have a childlike fear of empty dark spaces, the darkness at the bottom of the stairs. The entrance to the bedroom has a 6 foot corridor that when I wake up at night threatens me. If I go to the toilet, I put the light on, not because I will trip but because I don’t want to walk in to the dark space even though I know there is nothing there. I shut the doors to the walk in wardrobe. I am learning just to let it be, not to over analyse, just recognise the question rather than strive for the answer. But it is a bit bizarre.
Day 25 – 40 mins
A bit of a treat today, I have an early meeting in Lancaster so after 24 days of running round Kendal I decide that I will head south to an exotic location. Armed with my running kit under my jeans and sweatshirt plus an extra shot of Lynx I head out of the door. I am heading for Condor Green and the river Lune path. I know the area from a project I did a couple of years ago and there is a great little cafe where I park up. It is sunny, clear and crisp but colder than I was expecting mainly due to a stiff breeze coming off the sea. To make up for it I push myself quite hard as I head towards Glasson Dock. I loop round the harbour and up a small hill to a ridge with great views towards Sunderland Point on the other side of the river. I turn left and down the slope towards two lanes, Cobb’s Lane and Dobb Lane. The first one ends at a campsite after 300 yards and the other at a farm after half a mile but no bother. I turn back towards Glasson Dock, drop on to the canal path and the canal basin where I know this little wreck is waiting for me. Photo taken, I leave the disappointed and still hungry swan heading back (me not the swan) towards Condor Green, the wind now pushing me on, back to the car and the cafe – I treat myself to a pot of tea and a flapjack – less than a week to go now.
Shipwrecked – Glasson Dock