Saturday, 1 December 2012

the joys of familiarity

Pond © Caroline Fraser 2012
Familiarity brings joy to dog and I.

We finally made it down to the woods today.

I have been missing them, as has dog. Duties elsewhere meant I didn't get there all week, and I felt frustrated. So did dog.

My other half opted to join me, but had to retreat almost before we got started , due to an unexplained pain in his leg that made wading through thick mud a bigger challenge than he was ready for. I hadn't the heart to admit that walking alone with dog and my camera was what I had hoped for all along. Peace and quiet. Time to think. To get my fix of nature.

Nature is my passion. Other photographer's choose different subject matter for their 'fix'.

A couple of weekends ago I had the privilege to meet Mark Power, Magnum photographer, at an IPSE workshop. Mark is a documentary photographer. He talked eloquently for a couple of hours about his career. I already knew of his work and book The Shipping Forecast, which I greatly admire. He showed prints of his new series of works Mass taken in Polish churches; beautiful large format prints of church interiors during worship. It seems that the influence of the Catholic church on his life has compelled him to make this series, having initially frustrated him and then creating a sense of envy for those who have a faith.  Having a strong feeling about an issue is a great reason to start a project, and his love of Poland is eloquently shown in his book The Sound of Two songs.

He made me stop and think when he talked about the challenges of going into a foreign landscape and trying to make pictures that are of interest to anyone else. I thought about my recent trip to Burma, and how little emotional attachment I feel to the images that I made there. How much time does one need to spend in a place to fully convey something meaningful to others in one's images?

Mark Power talked about his work in the Black Country, looking at the impact of the recession. I had not realised before that the two industries that are most likely to survive in a recession are beauty and the sex industry. Sales of lipstick used to climb during a recession as people sought to feel better about themselves. Now it is nail polish that indicates how well the country is faring.

Pond 2 © Caroline Fraser 2012
I cannot claim to be a documentary photographer, but I have in mind to make a small book on the offerings that people make in Buddhist temples, only because whilst travelling in Burma one has to think of something to focus on when visiting more temples than one could possibly imagine to be possible in 14 days.

Offerings of money, flowers, bananas and drinks are made to Buddha as a means of merit making in the Buddhist tradition of striving for a better life.

More on this later.........

I will leave you with lipstick and nail polish on a figure in a Buddhist temple, holding offerings of flowers and money.

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