Saturday, 23 February 2013

Immediate Nostalgia

'Tress Marked for Felling' (Consequences of Change) (larger version) is an extended title included after discussion with Kate Ware, curator at the Museum of Art, New Mexico. Although the images (below) are included in an ostensibly environmental show at PhotoPlace Gallery, the piece was created primarily as more of an emotional and psychological exploration.

When developing a new piece of work, it is very hard to understand in the present moment whether it has any legacy. The attachment to the moment of creation inhibits the ability to see objectively, so it feels like a big risk to show work so recently created.

Completed images and ideas must sit sometimes even for years before they can be developed or shown. In the medium of photography, there is pressure to expose the 'immediate present' which of course is impossible but the expectation is a bi-product of our engrained processes of viewing. Susan Sontag brilliantly summed up the paradox of the photographic process as a form of 'immediate nostalgia.' This piece and much of my current practice is directly inspired by that notion.

I have been interested in the concept of non-literal 'markers' or signs and the relationship between their abstract and actual meaning. This can be interpreted in many ways but in this context I am attempting to expose unseen timelines; emotional markers that influence present and future actions.

"We had a big woods and farm behind our house (someone else's property) that was a very important place to me. While I was young, the land was sold for a housing subdivision. My brother and I were outraged and devastated by the colorful markings with paint and plastic flags that signaled the end of our "wilderness." We'd come home from school to find these and the tire tracks of large construction vehicles." - Kate Ware, Curator of Photographs, Museum of Art, New Mexico

Other personal stories;

"It (sic) reminds me of coming home and the feeling of immense sadness on seeing the beautiful big tree outside our flat, a Victorian like the tenements, with the mark of death daubed across it's trunk. In the end nature beat them to it when a gale hari kari'd it across the street."

"This happened in some woodland I loved to walk in some years back. The fellers were really ruthless wanting to take out masses of beautiful old trees, so a friend and I went round and removed the marks on a couple of our favourites!"


Tress Marked for Felling (Consequence of Change),  Dec 2012 © Richard Ansett



Winter Timber, 2009 - David Hockney

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