Sunday, 21 October 2012

Back Numbers

I'm currently wrestling with a photo-book project, probably now titled "Elevation", though it was called "The Catoptric Theatre" for quite a while, until I realised this was (a) pretentious and (b) unpronounceable.  I did learn a lot about 17th century Jesuit magician Athanasius Kircher ("the last man who knew everything") along the way, not to mention how to entertain your colleagues by putting a cat inside a mirrored box.  I had fun tracing the crucial quote in the original Latin of Kircher's assistant Gaspar Schott's great work Magia Universalis (W├╝rzburg, 1657), despite Gaspar using the word "cattus" for cat, rather than "feles".  All useless knowledge now, but I suppose it might help me win an upmarket pub quiz one day.

This two steps forward, one step back process is what a project of this sort is all about --  trying things out, rejecting anything that doesn't feel right, and generally groping towards a satisfactory whole.  The thing that always happens, is that gaps appear.  Wouldn't it be great, you think, if that picture I took in October 2007 had actually been in focus / properly exposed / as good as I remember it?  Inevitably, trawls through the back files ensue, and along the way gems like these two get uncovered -- never even processed from RAW before, somehow overlooked, probably because they didn't quite match whatever it was I thought I was doing back then.

Pentti Sammallahti may have a way with dogs, but you must admit I'm pretty good with vapour trails...


Dave Leeke said...

That's interesting that you say Athanasius Kircher was "the last man who knew everything" as every day I face classrooms full of kids that think they do.

Good to have you back, Mike.

Mike C. said...


Ha! But do they know how to make a statue that pees wine, or a cat piano?


Dave Leeke said...

That's a good point - but actually there's bound to be one who does.

There's always one, isn't there?

Kent Wiley said...

Good one Dave. Which gets to the heart of one of my favorite sayings:
Hire a teenager while he knows everything.