Monday, 19 May 2008


"I know that to paint the sea really well, you need to look at it every hour of every day in the same place so that you can understand its way in that particular spot; and that is why I am working on the same motifs over and over again, four or six times even." Claude Monet, French Impressionist Artist

Some of my most pleasant childhood memories are of the journeys to our holiday destination/s. All our luggage and holiday excitement would be loaded in the car under the cloak of early morning darkness. The car’s engine has a calming buzz whilst vast expanses of beautiful horizons whiz by. For hours on end I would just look at the scenes outside the car window. Within minutes different worlds would open before my eyes. I just loved the shapes in the clouds. One can’t help but feel free in a countryside so vast.
When the wet plate collodion process was discovered during the 1800s it opened a world of traveling to adventurous photographers. It still amazes me how they were willing to travel with such heavy gear and sensitive materials just to capture moments of their arduous journey. Some of those photos still captivate.
We are in such a privileged frame of history: digital technology advances at a speeding rate and the weight and size of cameras become smaller and smaller without compromising on quality. Unfortunately it seems that our society (maybe with the influence of technology allowing things to happen faster) breeds an idea that we don’t have time. Even though we are not constrained by the longer process of wet plate collodion photography, sometimes the rest of my party do not appreciate the remarkable scene beyond the car’s window and do not regard its splendour as enough justification to stop the car, breathe it in and take a photo. But the urge to point the lens at that horizon and take a visual memory of it with me is sometimes too great and I end up with photos like these.
All the landscapes are taken on the same road but within a three month interval and of course, the daylight scenes were taken during the afternoon and sunset clouds at late afternoon. They were taken from my vantage point - within the moving car. I’m not sure whether these images carry any artistic weight, but they evoke such pleasant emotions, that to me they’ll continue to fascinate and let me dream of the places I still want to stop at and breathe in.
Photographers and painters who lived a hundred years or more ago might have had more ‘trouble’ to put expeditions together and capture some remarkable scenes, but I still envy them to some extent, because they had the time to spend in those remarkable places. They didn’t just visit those places, they knew it, became friends with it.
For now, I will keep them in my purse, they will remind me of the places I still want to ‘journey’ to and many more I’m not even aware of yet, whilst at the same time it reminds me of my history - and maybe one day we’ll be friends.