First Thoughts

I think its worthwhile stating what I plan to do with this blog during the residency at the Tower of London. Alex is quite right to label this as a type of online sketch book for my work, I am keen to make my process as transparent as possible and I think I will learn as much from this as I hope some of you will. Any creative person is probably uncomfatable about over-analysing their practice, its easier to let others examine your work, mainly due to their position outside the inextricably personal mechanics of the whole thing. So I hope that this ‘laying bare’ of my photographic exploration of the Tower and its history is a worthwhile experience for us all.

There are so many things that influence my photography while I am exploring a project : the books I’m reading, the exhibitions I visit and even the music I have been listening to, that I think it will be useful to share some of these things with you so that it may add an extra layer to the experience of the final body of work.

I will be prodded and cajouled by the other contibutors of this blog (Alex Drago and Zinta Juanitis) and I also ask that you please send us your comments so that we can turn this into a dialogue rather than a monologue.

I have been to the Tower of London three times since accepting the residency, mostly I have been working with the Education Department planning the education projects, but on each visit I have begun to explore the public areas of this incredible national monument. These intitial visits have been mostly without my camera, but on the last visit I began to take some preliminary ‘sketch’ shots – I will post some of these on the blog in future.

I must explain that I work with a film, rather than a digital camera, I must also point out that this is not due to some luddite fear of the new, just that I prefer the process of working with film, contact sheets and prints, for me film creates a more physical experience, and I think there is something to be said for waiting a few days before you see the images that you have made – it creates a distance between the ‘real’ location and the new, two dimensional photographic ‘place’.

In case you are wondering where the title of this blog comes from it is infact taken from the inscription on the Tower of Londons execution site memorial created by Brian Catling:

Gentle visitor pause awhile – where you stand death cut away the light of many days – here jewelled names were broken from the vivid thread of life – may they rest in peace while we walk the generations around their strife and courage – under these restless skies’

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