Constellations Of Light

The Muse Letter No. 62

Sitting in a darkroom can be disorientating.

You prepare everything beforehand: you put the roll of film in front of you, the scissors to trim it from the spool, the tin opener, the reel on which you load the film, the tank, funnel and its lid. You memorise their positions and hope that your hands find their way later. That they’ll somehow just know where you left everything. – And then it gets dark and trust in yourself is the only thing you really need.

In darkness we find ourselves distinctively.

//

My relationship with photography is deeply intertwined with my relationship to my Dad. Or at least that’s how it started. Like my affinity towards Marzipan, my taste for herring fish sauce, my interest in gardening it all comes down to the fact that my Dad loves these things and in an attempt to connect as a young child: I chose to feel the same way.

I guess that’s normal. We all pick up things from our parents that we like or admire and emulate them in one way or another. It doesn’t mean that I would have not liked to take photographs, it just means that every time I do it: I feel like I am my father’s daughter. Truly.

//

It’s been a couple of months now since the golden hour is back dancing through my room . That precise moment when the sunbeams travel through leaves creating shadow movements on my bedroom wall slowly swaying from one corner to the next. Reminding me of a verse from Carol Ann Duffy’s poem Prayer:

“Some days, although we cannot pray, a prayer
utters itself. So, a woman will lift
her head from the sieve of her hands and stare
at the minims sung by a tree, a sudden gift.”

//

Constellations of light, trying to capture it with a click, later an image emerging on paper. The word photography was created from the greek roots φωτός (phōtós) "light" and γραφή (graphé) "representation by means of lines" or "drawing", together meaning"drawing with light". A photo is a creation of light, a recording of it. It’s hard to say how people really felt on certain photos: Was it really that much fun? Were they having the time of their life? Were we in love?

A photo is not a recording of the truth.

//

I think about the camera that was stolen out of my flat when I was living in Budapest, that belonged to my Dad, that he had used for a decade before I was born. Back when he was developing his own photos in the tiny bathroom of my parents first flat. That camera wasn’t expensive or anything but a manifestation of love, I carried around my neck. This is my Dad’s camera = This is my Dad caring about me. Trusting me with his things. And then it got stolen and it took a while for me to get back to photography. Like the whole point was gone somehow. The connection.

//

A photo is not a recording of the truth.

It’s not even a replicate of a scene really. It’s a moment captured when light travels through a lens, timed by a shutter, hitting a light sensitive film and what you do with that in the darkroom, how you play around with it, manipulate it, enlarge it, crop it, how many seconds you let light again flow through another lens, hitting another light sensitive paper this time, bathing it in different chemicals, that whole process is: interpretation is reinvention.

Knowing that at some point, this moment was important enough to be kept. I think that is good enough. Close enough.

//

Sitting in a darkroom can be disorientating.

//


SHOP

"Things I Have Noticed - Essays on leaving / searching / finding” is a poetic memoir about the process of finding ones own voice. 

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"I'd like the one with the non-existential dread, please."


ONE THING TO DO

So I’ve been absolutely obsessing over “The Handmaid’s Tale” now for a week, I know super late to the party but it happens. Anyway if you have been like my putting it off: Don’t. It’s brilliant. And somehow healing. Also the soundtrack is really really brilliant. So if you don’t have the stomach for it: Listen to that.


IN CASE YOU MISSED LAST WEEK’S MUSE LETTER:

Cutting Tall Grass

“The summer I couldn’t pay rent and went hiking instead, very much felt like that. I had just moved from Berlin to Edinburgh and was trying to get my feet back on the ground. I wasn’t homeless. I had an address. I had a passport. I wasn’t living on the streets. Not a social case. Not looking for pity here. I just didn’t have enough money. That’s all.”

An excerpt from my book of essays: “Things I Have Noticed”

read it here


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