On friday of last week I dropped off the 15 photographs that will make up the exhibition at Spectrum in Hove for framing. The framing process changes the prints from photographs into 3D objects that have a different presence altogether, I am hoping that when they are hung on the wall in the correct order and position the effect will be something like how I saw it in my mind when making the edit. Of course the fact that I didn’t now where the photographs were to be shown prior to the edit and printing process plays its part in the success of the final work.
Since I completed making the photographs for the Tower Residency I have become more and more interested in the sculptural quality of the photographic print; the photograph as physical object, and the way it changes through handling over time. For example : a photograph carried in a wallet of a loved one begins to wear due to its everyday closeness to the owner, it begins to bare the marks of its attention.
When I was a student a much respected photography technician retired, he was a very interested in the explorations of people like Scott and Shackleton. My year grouped together to buy the technician (John) a print of one of the photographs taken by Frank Hurley during Shackleton’s ill fated expedition of the South Pole, as a leaving gift. You could clearly see in the bottom right hand corner of the print a smeared thumbprint that was on the original glass plate negative. John explained that before Shackleton’s team abandoned their wrecked ship Endurance Hurley was told to select only a few of his glass plates to take with them. These thumb prints would have been where Hurley had held the developed glass plate while deciding whether to take the image or leave it (Shackleton actually smashed the ones left behind so that Hurley wouldn’t be tempted to go back for them).
These damaging marks have added to the image an extra layer of the photographs history.