A repost of one of my favourite photographs that I’ve taken, probably from a few years ago now.
I have been shooting incorrectly for the majority of the time; it took me just one trip with the well-informed to tell me that. I should have known, I shouldn’t have shot from the hip, wasting film and time combined. Honestly, I have learnt my lesson, just hand me that last roll of black and white film and I’ll get your shot, the one that we both dream of on long hazy afternoons – the body laying silently, awaiting a brief exposure with your eyes focused on mine, the twin cradles of hips and shoulders turned towards me and only to me. As if in a dream the thin rivulets of your flesh cascade gently against the cold leather couch.
On developing I can see the flames licking the border of the shot, the deep blacks and greys helping to create shadow against the brilliant white of immovability. The mistaken shot turns into something more, an image captured that I had not originally cared to note.
Blue is the colour of my dreams, the inside and the outside worlds tilting but never quite fully falling over. The flutter of the leaves in the wind and the beauty of the sky’s colours urged me to look up, to embrace the vast emptiness of existence. No comfort was found, history meaning nothing to the future, but no comfort was needed. It wasn’t that life is on a constant knife-edge of imbalance, when is it not?, but the fact that I could embrace the now, the cold comfort of the wind and the cawing of the birds as my own. Distinctly my own, this moment and nothing more. That nothing, or rather no moment, truly mattered or matters in the great cosmic life course of universal matter. We were born and we will die, from whence we began we will return.
The guitar leans silently against the wall. Both the pint glass and the cup are empty, the plate too is bereft of what was once resting upon it. He is sated, fed and watered, content to watch videos streaming on the computer laid out in front of him. There was no conversation taking place here, no exchange of ideas or of intimacies, no special spark between a bond shared. It was as it was pictured.
That the walls once rang out with the thrill of love and the laughter of friendship was not deniable, that this would occur once again a known truth. For the moment though this was a simple moment to relax, to enjoy the stillness present at this known time of deep changes. For the walls did not move but the foundations surely did shake in their silent scream of protest.
Photograph by the author using a Pentax Super ME camera and lomography colour film (if I remember rightly), please attribute if used elsewhere.
How could I possibly tell her that I had thought we had a future together when these thoughts alone were just the remanent of fragmented dreams, and that those dreams were recalled by the half light ecstasy of sexual mores that only I could gain personal satisfaction in? No, these feelings and lust-filled thoughts were just that. They were simply a morning temptation before the creeping light of dawn awoke me fully to the realities of the day ahead. I held the phone in my right hand, her number displayed on the screen with a text half-finished underneath. I reread the message and cringed in shame, the liquid warm against my belly whilst I drew deep breaths. Deleted. For the betterment of us both.
Besides I had double English to attend and I still needed to scrub the sleep from my eyes, shower and dress. The walk to the college alone would take twenty minutes and I had an hour at the most to get ready, prepare for the class and to arrive on time. Timekeeping was never a strong point for me, the lack of punctuality ran in the family and infuriated my mother continually throughout her children’s adolescence. My eldest brother, for I was one of four and the second youngest of our parent’s brood, would drive my mother crazy by getting up late, sometimes comically late and especially so if we had to be somewhere on time. This would then cascade a chain of fury from my mother to my father, who got annoyed on her behalf before the fury finally found us, his younger brothers. Once we were out of the house however we were fine and I think Dad sensed this when he saw the frustration spreading and urged us out as fast as was humanely possible.
The house was empty this morning though so I could blast the music, keep the bedroom door open and move about freely as naked as the day my poor mother had pushed me out. I loved it – the feeling of an empty house where my favourite music reverberated from wall to wall; where I could eat quickly before I jumped into the shower, laughing as I did so as the water followed and flowed over the contours of my limbs and ran down my thighs. They were where the thick surgical scars outlined the orthopaedic surgeon’s fixation. I was proud of these scars, they were my personal tattoos of a specific time and place, my memories of pain and pleasure entwined to produce a better me (or so the hope went).
The first lesson passed without incidence, we learnt of the black ram tupping the white ewe and the lecturer expounded on what this meant for the play, for the deft characterisation and turn of phrase the author was so well-known for. I wondered of his contemporaries, of his hopes and dreams. I wondered what became of his loves and hungers, what his reaction would be if he knew that his plays would be enacted out four centuries hence whilst his fellow playwrights would lie largely forgotten in the lands that birthed them. But still, I had the break to look forward to where I would see her and think ashamedly back to my morning scene. I wanted to hold her hair in my hands and look deep into the blues of her eyes. This was a fantasy, the girl who I would later call my partner had brown eyes and curly hair, she wasn’t the person who I had dreamt of whilst I had lain in bed, regretting the passing of the minutes that I was powerless to stop.
This was the contract, signed by us both. Remaining friends but no more, the blushes of a late teenage crush hidden by a mop of hair. Instead I put aside my fantasy of my cheek against hers, my lips kissing hers, my body entwined with hers, and put our friendship on a higher plane. There was no underlying hidden moral heroism driving this, it was purely the shame of not trying and never asking for her hand. The joy of seeing her and sharing stories over drinks replaced this erotic dream of mine, one that I had subconsciously harboured since school and let blossom fully at college. Instead I focused on the give and take of friendship. The unsaid declaration of the fact that she and I were always willing to be there for one another, at the end of a text, a phone call or in person, that it remained hanging in the air never needing to be vocalised.
Taken by the author with a Pentax S1a camera using Lomography Lady Grey film. If reproduced elsewhere please credit as appropriate.
It is hard to articulate the freedom that I feel behind the wheel. As I join the flow of traffic I am you and you are I, only our cars distinguish us amongst the crowd and even then we are both the same. Yet driving is also death incarnate – the flurry of life in flux and of life taken at a moment’s notice. I fear gross trauma, the savaged limb and the non-beating heart.
Yet, even with this fear encapsulated within my bosom, I still love the freedom that the four wheels bring, even as we are constrained by the tarmac and by the signs. It is a chance to listen again to a favourite CD in its entirety, to revisit a band’s discography. It is the time to make me fall in love once more. It is the time to get to know my co-workers that much more, to have unfettered conversations not sanctioned by the workplace. It is the time to cruise the dark streets alone on my midnight journey home, heading back to the family dwelling. It is the time to think of the luxury of a life half-lived.
All photographs by the author, please credit if used elsewhere.
The rock of the land meets the cold waters of the ocean. Grass sits silent on top of the coastline, drinking in the golden sunlight. The cliffs in the background are out of focus, the sharpness of the waves breaking on the jagged rocks has been lost. Clarity has been forsaken for impressionism. Broad brushstrokes paint the solid bedrock of the picture, where it is the little details that matter and not the great hulking monolith that the scene captures. The foreground mimics the background. There is no meaning imbued in the photograph, no central image to focus the eye, nor no human actor to engage the viewer. There is nothing but the silence and the stillness of the scene, of the grass that will never grow taller, of the sand that will never be blown away by invisible winds.
This is a landscape in miniature, where a thousand footprints have already been left and a thousand more wait to be made.
If reproduced, please credit the author of this blog as the photographer.
If this photograph is reproduced, please credit the author of this blog as the photographer.