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Loci


Dimensions: w: 20.6cm, h: 26.3cm
Photographs (49): 2007–2016
Book: 2019



I had a few good teachers in secondary school, none that I’d say inspired me, but that wasn’t necessarily their fault, it would likely have been quite the uphill struggle. At best, I’m hopefully a late developer. The only teacher whose name I remember was Mr Thomas. He was an older man, decent and quite proper, and nearing retirement. He taught English Literature and I liked him.

I remember him talking about the idea of ‘pathetic fallacy’ in relation to Thomas Hardy and maybe a storm gathering over the Dorset landscape in The Mayor of Casterbridge. Things in the world mirroring events or feelings. I’ve held that concept in my head and occasionally thought about it in the 30 or 40 years since. That image of the gathering storm has become so overused that, if seen in a contemporary film, it can induce a wince at the unimaginativeness of the director.

Pathetic and fallacy - the two words sound wrong. Pathetic in common parlance meaning pitiful, sad; fallacy an erroneous idea. Crudely put, a sad mistake. I look it up in a dictionary for the first since school and my memory was correct: “The attribution of human feelings and responses to inanimate things or animals, especially in art and literature.” Wikipedia reveals that it was coined by Ruskin to criticise the work of late 18th century poets like Wordsworth, Shelley, Keats et al.

This work explores how what we see can reflect what we feel, and what we feel can direct us to see certain things, in certain ways. Loci comprises a series of photographs that articulate my feelings of depression, despair and loneliness. We are surrounded by such signs, to the point of cliche, in this frequently uncaring world. The photographs were taken during a hugely challenging period in my and my family’s life, but do not seek, for the most part, to function in anything like a documentary sense.

Loci risks a terrible gaucheness. That voice in my head taunts me: aren’t we all too sophisticated for this? These are images that can be decoded and, inevitably, denuded thereby. Let the eye inhabit them, and the heart behind the eye.

Loci is dedicated to my children Aalijah and Gabriel.