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JOURNAL
March - 2018
Extracts from, It Fell From an Unknown Height


10th - Crufts, Birmingham.


I really need to download some new music. I’m so tired and bored of listening to the same playlist of songs that I seem to have had on my phone for years. I’m currently in a nostagic frame of mind and loving all the new synth-wave retro 80s style music. When it’s done right, it’s a joy. A lot of it is shit though. It’s nice to listen to on a train.

I’ve always liked being on the train out of London. I like to watch the brickwork change from mustard-yellow to brown and on to red. I like how each city or region seems to use a certain and particular colour of brickwork for houses. 

I also like to watch as all the industrious steel and forever present nature of  contruction of the city slowly
change from that, to that of fields and flat expanses. It’s nothing like the flat and open expanses of Norfolk, but it’s flat and open enough for me to feel like I can finally breathe once more - be it from the confines of a train carriage.

The journey is short, a little over an hour. That’s pretty good going for a train from London to Birmingham - that’s actually remarkbly zippy. As a nation, we complain a lot about our train network, and although expensive at times, I’ve always found it to be pretty efficient, on time and fast. As with most things here, when they work, they work exceptionally well. I just wish now that the train would slow enough for me to compose a shot. It’s hard to do at 100+mph.

The dog-show itself is something that I had always been meaning to get back to since failing to get anything from the show when I visited a couple of years ago; I was shooting digital back then and I spent more time trying to sort the camera out than I did taking shots and this dampened my entire visit, so I’d always had it in my mind to try again.  The media and press centre at such places are always places that I have enjoyed being allowed to be in - there’s oftentimes an array of information and places to sit and relax, with refreshments and whatnot for the taking. I never like to overdo it and grab the odd coffee here and there, but mainly when I go to such places, I am straight in, get my pass, have a coffee and I’m then heading out to get some shots. After about an hour or two or whenever it is that I feel I have everything I need, I never feel the need to return to the press area - I’m normally heading out and back on the train within a few hours of my arrival.
I spent a little more time this time around chewing over scenes and what was available to me. I wasn’t happy with anything on my last visit and couldn’t wait to leave, but this time, with the film camera and wanting to actually get something on this visit, I mulled and digested scenes and those with their dogs and so-on. I am still after the compositional elements of a frame - it’s something that I find hard not to want. However, there’s another side of me that simply wants to throw it all out of the window and just simply grab whatever I want and in whatever manner I choose without actually thinking too much about it. Putting that into practice however, is proving a little difficult. To make photographs without thought is hard when you are forver composing in your mind. Whether or not I can turn myself into shooting in a kinda haphazardly way and way of thinking remains to be seen. The reason for all this is to simply shift and move my work away from looking too neat, tidy and composed. Compositon is very important to me but I now feel that I can be aware of it without it all being too on show. Too, forced, as it were.


27th

I’ve been meaning to get out more and to do some simple street photography. I’ve focussed on projects for far too long and although I will never completetly disregard the practice of planning ahead and wanting to make projects, to free myself and my mind of all that and all the pressure that it contains; it’s nice to simply get out and to make photographs without plan, without reason and without thought. To just simply shoot what the world presents to me. I fail, mostly, but it’s fun and mentally relaxing all-the-same.

How I managed to lose a roll of film from that outing, I have no idea. It’s the worst feeling. There wasn’t anything particularly specular on that roll from what I can remember, but there were one or two strange instances that I remember and recall liking at the time and was looking forward to seeing how they may have come out for me. Those are now lost forever. It’s the first time I have ever lost or misplaced a roll of film. I normally have a system in place with regards to where I put my film - there’s always two rolls ready in the front pocket of my jeans and rolls not yet used are in their canisters in my backpack. Those used, are simply put in the backpack without a canister. This works for me, so I can only imagine that I went in to a shop and put the exposed roll down for a moment and forgot.



24th - University Boat Race

I’d never been to the boat race before. All my life I have known about it, seen it on tv, knew what it was - a long traditional boat race between the two main universities here, Oxford and Cambridge. I’d seen a photograph by Tony Ray-Jones taken at the time of the event and what struck me immediately was that the photograph itself didn’t show anything to do with the boat - the photograph was simply of two spectators standing on top of a bench to get a view. And that way of working at events has stayed with me from the start - to not be so focuseed on the event itself but that there are many wonderful and exploritory things happening in the crowds and of those attending. 
So for the boat race itself, I actually didn’t stay long enough to see the main teams come out and get in the water, nor was I there at the end to photograph the happenings and shenanigens of the celebrations. I may do one day, go there and get all that, but for now, I was only after some of the spectators and those milling around before the start of the race. I’m not particularly happy and thrilled with what I got, but now I know what to expect of the place, where the place is and those that attend. I may decide to go again in the future and only hope for some better weather should I decide to.


I put on some 80s style music. Not the known popular stuff, just random 8-bit kinda retro synth crap. It suits my needs for the night. There's a mostly large part of me that enjoys and celebrates the days, as most do without knowing. However, mostly, it's a constant fight and battle of will. That will, so to speak, stops me from many things - smoking, drinking etc. And mostly, I have failed. I was doing well for a time, but in the end, I failed. And I hate that about myself, that I can find myself in bouts and moments of pure weakness. I hate it because I know I’m stronger than all that bullshit. 

I don’t know where weakness resides - I don’t know what the triggers are; I don’t know what it is that can send me back to the start, as it can with others and theirs; back to the regret and thoughts of waste - back to the dragons when veins seal; the scrawn of youth long gone yet the filling of branches black returns - and then in the course and contour of a day, it’s right back like mine, to zero - back to the floor.

Right back to the fucking start. The effort to start all over is so overwhelming and monumental I simply don’t know where to begin. Day one, I guess. What more to it can there be than that - than to start there.
Books and links of interest this month:

- Larry Sultan - Piictures from Home.
http://larrysultan.com/gallery/pictures-from-home/

- Harry Gruyaert East/West
www.magnumphotos.com/arts-culture/travel/harry-gruyaert-east-west-magnum-photos/

- Aperture 220 - The Interview Issue.
https://aperture.org/shop/aperture-220-magazine/

- Huck 41 - 2013 Documentary Special - The Other Syria
www.huckmagazine.com/art-and-culture/print/huck-magazine/huck-41-documentary-photography-special/

- Tony Ray-Jones - University Boat Race photograph.
https://mastersofphotography.files.wordpress.com/2017/01/660b5-tonyray-jones8.jpeg?w=1000&h=727

- Album on repeat this month:
Omniversal Oscillations - Starforce - Alpine Glow