Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Boundary Elements Revisited

One of my books, Boundary Elements, is a compilation made from photographs I took in the years 2009 to 2010. Although some of my favourite single images are contained in that book, like the one above, it has never really worked for me as a satisfactory whole. My original idea was to let some randomness into my hitherto highly-controlled and labour-intensive book-sequencing procedure. I would select the best of the hundreds of photographs I had taken on various repeated walks – mainly daily lunchtime circuits on the Southampton University campus – and allow the order of the sequence to be determined by chronology, rather than by any conscious act of ordering. I wanted the book to have a sense of plenitude, and for it to be a chunky, small text with many pages, rather like a handbook or manual.

An interesting idea, but it just didn't work. Looking back, I now realise that this was the period immediately following the death of my parents and various other trials and tribulations, which may explain a dark, glum mood that pervades the book. So, given how much I still like some of the pictures, I decided it would be worth revisiting the sequence, if only to see whether a bit of weeding – letting in a bit of light and air – would allow the best of the series to thrive. I also decided not to be as bothered as I had been before by a certain amount of overlap with the Curriculum book. They are, after all, two very different approaches to what is essentially the same source material. Why shouldn't a picture like "Medusa's Bad Hair Day" (a private title, and not one I'd actually use) appear in both?

I think the revised book has been improved, and I've put it on Blurb as Boundary Elements revisited. Have a look, if you like, and see if you agree. It's still quite dark in places, but not oppressively so, although another time I might do some work on lifting the darker shadow tones, which don't reproduce well. I've removed the original version, though, as I no longer wish to offer it for sale.


amolitor said...

Well done.

I note, however, that "Boundary Elements" from 2010 still seems to be available? I rather like it too. It's less strong, but the sequencing is, at least taking various short runs of photos separately, quite decent. Perhaps you get a bee in your bonnet about one motif or another, so for a few days everything repeats that motif, and then you move on to another?

Mike C. said...

Is it?? I'd better take a look -- can't have people buying BOTH of them!

Yes, you're probably right about the motifs -- there was also an element of selection, as these were just the best of hundreds of photos, but they were hundreds of very similar photos, generally clustered around the same time (snow is a rarity in these parts, for example).