WAYS OF SEEING
Do you ever look at an image or even just a scene from everyday life and find yourself drawing all sorts of conclusions about it? We are very visual beings and constantly make judgements on the information our eyes receive – drawing conclusions from the evidence we are presented with, based on our knowledge and experience.
I am sure I am not unique in doing this quite regularly when going about my everyday life, spotting things of interest to me and making up a full story or thought process based upon it. This is one of the reasons I love Photography and art in general. We are presented with an image, someones small edited part of the world and instinctively we try to make sense of it and put it into context. At the very heart of our relationship with Photography, this seems to exist. We look at an image, which we perceive as a truism. Something that actually happened or existed in the form we are presented with. We read the image to place it in a world we can understand and relate to.
I am volunteering at the Fabrica gallery at the moment and was lucky enough to attend one of their volunteer workshops, inspired by their new exhibition and run by the artist Jane Fordham (check out her work at www.janesybillafordham.com/index.php). The workshop was entirely about this process of deciphering images and analysing what they are about. The workshop was great and helped remind me of the value of this process and how interesting it is.
While going through a load of recent Photographs, I saw this one that I took whilst checking out a small church (St Andrew’s I believe – a Shepherds Church none the less!) in Didling, after going to Kingley Vale Nature Reserve. I instantly recalled the story I invented on seeing this scene, which is a good example of what I described above. So here I shall recount that story to you…slightly embellished and exaggerated.
THE HARVEST AND THE FOREMAN
Pete didn’t mind being a Farmer, being outside was quite nice and he got to play with big machines regularly – which is more than most people get.
But, essentially, it was a lot of work. And he had to get up early, which was shit at the best of times. The routine got a bit dull really and although he begrudgingly consorted with this routine, it was perhaps fair to say that his heart wasn’t entirely in it.
A cricketer. That’s what he really wanted to be. But after that incident with the tractor, the goat and the hay bails – his leg was a bit lame, so even the slimmest chance of a career change was impossible.
Marg knew all this. Pete did his bit, but took some persuasion and was prone to lying a little in order to get out of certain jobs. It was a pain in the arse really and she couldn’t be bothered to nag him all the time.
So, every year at Harvest, Pete tried to avoid getting stuck in and Marg tried to avoid the responsibility of forcing him into it. She would prefer to bake a pie.
Pete loved pie.
This year, the weather had been particularly annoying. A bit like Ben, the farm hand. He was nice enough – bright and fresh. But in long spells, without a more varied personality to balance him out, he got rather tiring and dull. So the summer had started early and been long and dry. Everyone loves the sun, but eventually you need some rain or your crops are fucked.
Eventually, when the rain did come, it was late in the season and the crops had to be brought in during the brief period when the sun came out. Pete had to get the harvester out quick whenever a chance like this presented itself, but often it interrupted watching the cricket and that was very second best.
But, knowing duty called, he set out with Ben to bosh through another field and, if they could work quickly, then he might just get back before light stopped play. Marg guessed the cricket was on his mind and suspected the Harvesting might be patchy at best, so perhaps a bit of overseeing was in order. She jumped in the Clio and belted down to Didling and the big field.
Finding a suitable vantage point where the hedge dipped, she got out the Motorola MOTOTLKR T3 Walkie Talkie and proceeded to bark strategies and movements to the wheat tank.
The job got done, but Pete missed the cricket…and there was no pie.
It’s amazing what you can get from one image!