Click on image for enlarged view
Let me just get into this phrase a bit, and why I fixate on it, and why I’m wanting to use it to guide this latest group of imagery. A few things, I’ll try to break it down and go through them briefly. First, it’s the phrase itself – the poignancy of course but also its precise matter of factness coupled with an uneasy ambiguity. Second is the action and the time inferred in the phrase – the inference of one/with/when. Third is its relationship to a photographic kind of thinking (I guess, if there is such a thing – more accurately I could say my own peculiar way of thinking photographically).
So about the phrase – not only this one but so many others like it. I’m working with this one now because it’s leading me along these other threads, but the reason I acknowledge others like it, is because we’ve all got our own set burned into our brains – images too. And really, I guess a phrase is also an image, right? But I want to continue trying to think beyond, but also in between melancholia. So maybe only beyond far enough to come back from the another direction, because I’m not interested in stopping when the maximum level of sentimentality is reached, I want to know how it/we got there in the first place. So at any rate, yeah, we’ve all got these things burned into our minds that rise up unbeknownst to any kind of voluntary cognition, and they comingle with one another (these phrase-images) and if you don’t grasp a corner somehow, you’re fucked. They’re gone. That kind of failure interests me. The tension around those missed moments (they’re not moments really, need to think of a better term, maybe).
So that sort of takes me to the second bit. The time and action in the aforementioned phrase. The wording suggests that no “one was with her”. This is different than “nobody was with her”. It makes me think of the one that cannot be counted (I’ve still got some major re-reading of Badiou on the horizon, but I’m led to think in this manner when I consider this phrase fully). So the one as absent, and so “not one” – the void (please don’t kill me philosopher friends). In essence then, there was no ONE with her when she died. The one could not be counted. So, we’re not simply talking about being alone or without a companion of any sort, but truly in the midst of nothingness. Holy christ, that makes the phrase even more crushing to me. Which of course, I love (now, this relates back to the paragraph above – why? Why is the intensity of loss and longing such a rich and powerful experience?). But another aspect I fixate on is the “when” in the phrase and also the “was”. There is a suggestion of time present and time passed. And of course all of this bundled together within a phrase about mortality.
And that’s what brings me around to the photographic. I guess anyway, somehow. It’s something to do with the very nature of photography and image “capture”. This leads me back to Laruelle’s introduction to The Philosophy of Non-Photography (that I wrote about a few weeks ago) where he speaks of the idea of the photographs we take without a camera (and/or prior to the camera)– simply by virtue of being in the world and burning these images into our brains. This is what we do with the aid of the camera as well. The camera image is (sometimes) fixed; the mind/body image is not and/or at least not in the same form – can’t really be conjured up in the same way every time as in a photographic re-presentation. But, now, I know I can’t explain this last bit well because it’s not a fully formed “idea” of any kind, it’s just a notion, something to do with how each moment (oh, how I’m beginning to despise that word), or how each instant, or each image passes by and in a sense, dies instantly. Whether it has been recorded with our brain via perception or with a camera via film or a light sensor, that particular image has died (removed from it’s specific position in time and space). So for whatever reason, this is yet another way I’m dealing with the phrase – as an image, and as loss or failure.
Clearly I’m all over the place, and tangents are likely to occur in the coming weeks. Should be good fun.
The images attached to this post are a few work proofs from this week (be sure to click on them for an enlarged/detail view). While working, I moved a box and found a dessicated lizard underneath. She makes an appearance in some of the photographs. Seemed apt.