Like Preston in Paris, one of my favourite parts of the Brighton Open’11 is the Library.
In his book, The Spell of the Sensuous, David Abrams suggests ‘to acknowledge the life of the body, and to affirm our solidarity with this physical form, is to acknowledge our existence as one of the earth’s animals”
But is it possible to render my embodied experience of the world through photography?
French writer Helen Cixous talks about “writing with the body”, painters are known to throw a great deal of physical energy into their works but is there a way to photograph with the body?
Artist Lindsey Seers has done it, literally, by using the cavity of her mouth as a camera obscura, her lips opening intermittently in the role of the diaphragm (aperture) to let images form on the light sensitive paper that rested on her tongue. The resulting images are framed by her teeth and her lips, not her eyes, not her mind. Plunged into the depths of her body I the viewer emerge from darkness into a blood lit chamber where I hear the pulse of her arteries and catch glimpses of a new world. Am I seeing through a veil of blood? Or is this the blurred vision of a newborn?
Rut Blees Luxembourg photographs at night with her camera low on the ground. As a result the city becomes an intimate, visceral, nocturnal space infused with ‘the colour of snake’s eyes’ (Regis Durand) When immersed in Rut’s liquid images I the viewer can imagine myself swimming, or myself crawling not necessarily walking.
Interestingly her photographs of the urban environment evoke wilderness, perhaps because natural elements like rain and night are so present or perhaps because they reveal the effects of time and erosion on the city, and in doing so represent it as alive and more human.
What I have been investigating through my own practice is whether it is possible to create images that are immediate, visceral and immersive at the same time, close ups that are also landscapes, sculptural and sensuous forms that are also spaces the viewer can dwell in.The immediacy is important, as I want to evoke the physicality of my subject, as well as my physical involvement with it and the materiality of the photographic image.