Inside Thirlstane Arch | PT.II of II | 35:Chronicle

35mm, black & white, infrared, personal, photography

Overseeing? | Internal Dialogue.

Eddie Van Halen once answered (while being interviewed for a famous rock magazine in the 80s) a question as to his playing style, most specifically, his soloing techniques. As I recall, he explained that when he constructs solos – he likened it to “falling helplessly down a long staircase but landing on my feet”. The reason I mention this, is because though I imagined this post to just be another few images of what some might see as ‘just another rock’, I have ended up writing… stuff. A ramble, if you like. I just hope that by the end of it, I also land on mine; and though I have little sense of thought-structure right now, the top of the staircase is in full and daunting view and, I am left feeling as though my shoes are on the wrong way round, laces untied.

IV | 35mm – 720nm Infrared.

35chronicle.123 (1)


When it comes to a scene, where compositional possibilities are somewhat limited (either by subject, angle, light or, our own abilities) what would be the point in taking  just one or two frames and walking away? If a scene makes me buzz, I hang around – explore it, and keep shooting. Not for the sake of it, though. There’s nothing more tedious than going through the editing process later, and knowing that 75% of my frames are destined for the bin before I’ve even begun looking  at them. Spray and pray? Not my style, at all. So, purposeful engagement with a pleasing subject, loaded with potential compositional snaggery (I don’t believe this is actually a word but, it works for me) can often be beautifully rewarding. Impatience has no place here. Instead, time, exploration, looking, seeing and the changing of shooting techniques (and yes, different wavelengths too) – are all keys to finding a different view of what, on first appearance to the human eye, might have been quite – normal. Unremarkable, even. Like a rock, perhaps.

Without direction, by perhaps explaining just why, what or how I saw or appreciated any given composition, I prefer instead to not influence a pattern of thought in a viewer and allow elements to come to the fore – or not, for that person. As you are reading this too, for you. Should not the very initial dialogue between the image and the seer, be internal? Seeing is a very personal thing, isn’t it? Whether you might (or, not) see what I see, or saw – is of little consequence to me personally and though this probably sounds dismissive, arrogant, cold or selfish, even, this would be as far from the truth of it as the stars must be. The freedom to perceive is the right of one and, the only wish I have is that you’ll enjoy even some of my frames, in whatever ways you see them. When someone, anyone, says to me that something I have seen resonated with them also has to be the biggest compliments I can imagine, and yet, often, I will hear or read words suggesting that something that I didn’t see – did the same thing. And so I keep learning to ‘see’ more effectively. By listening, too, I learn to look. The reason I mention any of this comes from my own internal dialogues of late; the ones that ask me to answer questions – begging answers in explanation as to why I do this in this first place. 

V | 35mm – VIS.

35chronicle.123 (3)


Before I attempt to answer my own question(s) I must explain though, as the idea for this particular post seemed to be a natural sequel to my previous, my first few frames from Thirlstane, there were to be no paragraphs, no sentences, no stringing together of words – at all. I figured that all that I wanted to say was already written in PT.I. The introduction and the conclusion. Still, as others have also poignantly written, sometimes the words come when we least expected them to and, other times, we ache to write something, stare at a blank screen and poke our brains for what feels like mini-aeons, and – nothing comes out from the fingertips. Whatever the intention, the reality of creativity seems to seek itself out and, as a conduit for whatever is or isn’t inside us, we do or we just – don’t. I think it’s as simple as that.

Conscious creativity seems to me, the very hardest part of making images. I don’t know if I’m answering my own questions but the nearest I can get to concluding why I shoot, think and continue to explore photography is the simple knowledge that I do not believe I’ve made all that I can make. I haven’t seen my best photograph because I haven’t made it yet. I haven’t explored the full possibilities of what my own limitations will allow me to see and make, with light and shadow. Though I search, sometimes painfully consciously for creativity, it seems to me that when I just relax with it, don’t push myself to make anything happen, instead just capturing what I see, trusting what I do know and being relaxed with variables – even by accident and not even thinking about every single element, I find ridiculous amounts of enjoyment in seeing a moment; and then, feeling the camera in my hand, stealing it.

VI | 35mm – VIS.

35chronicle.123 (2)


Not for recognition, not for the struggle or competition, not for anything else except the pure enjoyment, the passion, the constant pre-excitation – for discoveries; and, being able to share it. What is a picture without anyone there to look inside it?  

Perhaps I’ve just landed? Only you know the answer to that one.


[Frames V & VI: X100T | Frame IV: X100 720nm Conversion]
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4 thoughts on “Inside Thirlstane Arch | PT.II of II | 35:Chronicle

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