Hours of Idleness-A Photographer's Journey in St. Louis


Posted in art, film, learning, perception, photography, technique by Jason Gray on October 10, 2013


This work deals with the idea of “home”. For me, home is a term that is complicated and certainly multifaceted. Home is my family, home is where I live, home is who I am and who I’ve been; “home” is layered. The paragraph is by John Fowles, and excerpted from his Journals:

24 September Two beautiful things. A big, spacious sunset sky – elegant and not ostentatious, but curiously in the east, to the west nothing but a bank of low, dark clouds. The end of a Spergularia in the microscope – like a minute green saturn. A tiny shining ball with a ring of gauzy skin around it. Also the sails of some Thames barges half-hidden by mist. A curious thing. About to throw a piece of screwed-up paper into the yellow jug which serves as waste-paper basket, I said to myself, ‘As much chance as you have of being genius.’ It fell into the jug without a murmur, a 20 to 1 chance, at the least. Another day of silence, listening to other people’s trivialities – a dreadful hour at night when all the completely banal information gained from a visit of relatives is repeated and reviewed. Two mathematical impossibilities I should like to see. One, a graph of the words spoken by me each day over a year – the rise and fall would be eye-opening. Near zero here, and normal everywhere else. Two, a count of words spoken by my mother and myself – David and Goliatha! The visit by unknown relations is frightening, slightly, to the ego, and being. I feel awkward, not because I feel superior, but because I feel that they feel I am. Probably oversensitivity. But they are definitely not at home with me. Trying to get at oneself is a continual unwrapping – each new skin decreases steadily in beauty and value after it is exposed. Always the seed of truth, the maximum fulfilment of self, appears to be just beneath the next layer. Plainly there is no end to this unwrapping, but the sensation is damping.

Two early test prints:


Constructing this work, I had to decide why it should be on cyanotype. Ultimately, I thought that there was a nice correlation between the layered origin of this type of printmaking and the layered definition I was observing for “home”. I elected to emphasize the idea of layering throughout.

Conor Murphy observing the finished work:

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