Things on windowsills

I was inspired today and for that I would like to thank Camille Pasquin and Natalia Shaidenko and their joint blog-project Diptychs. Their images are responses to a single word selected at random, and they are charming. I love the juxtaposition of their different styles and the way their personalities shine through in their photography. I love the fact that the pictures open up their own secret worlds, but together create something new and exciting. It’s interesting too to read people’s responses to their images, because it seems to me that most people don’t just look at these pictures (although they do that too because aesthetically they are very appealing), instead they are looking for something, searching, interpreting the pairing. This is what I would call active seeing.

I think Diptychs a great example of how collaborative photography can challenge our perspective and make us see differently (in this I am talking about the viewer and the photographer). It also demonstrates my point about how images can take on different meanings in different contexts, which is one of the things have been thinking about a lot. One of my favourite diptychs of theirs is sort . I love the visual impression of a haphazard kind of order and the ‘thingness’ this pairing radiates. It appeals to the collector within me.

As a sort of response to this I decided to look back through some of my favourite pictures of things on windowsills. People do collect interesting stuff on them. A windowsill (or a shelf) is a display of sorts; sometimes neat and ordered and well thought out and other times forgotten and neglected. It can be biographical: a snapshot of  a person’s life (but we should be careful not to sentimentalise and read too much into this interpretation; after all windowsills are on display, and what we put on a windowsill represents a choice of sorts). It can also be nostalgic, poignant, eye-catching, inviting, minimalistic, or maybe just empty. Some of these images are of public (shops, cafes), and some private spaces.

© Emily Hughes and searchingtosee, 2012

Capturing the spaces in-between

A  photograph: a note, a thought, a flicker, a shadow, a shade, a glimpse, a glance, a moment, a blur, a trace, a shot, a capture, a fragment, an instant, an etching, a sketch, an inscription, a quotation, a resurrection, a memory…

 … What is it that lies in the space in-between?

A daydream? A keepsake?

A secret time-space, revealed to the eye, captured and stored inside.

The concept in phenomenological thought of bracketing as a reductive process, allowing us to examine things up close was introduced by Edmund Husserl, the father of phenomenology. Seeing things in parenthesis is of course what we do when we take a photograph: our eye selects a scene, something interesting; we take the picture; the picture becomes an object in itself; we put it in an album, on the wall, on flickr, or facebook to share with friends and family. It has been divorced from its original context. It has been re-claimed and re-contextualised. 

I love this picture, which I took in Berlin, of a girl reading on a step framed by a jungle of vivid green, punctuated by billowy white roses. I feel like I am peering into someone’s secret space every time I look at it. I think it makes you wonder, too who she is, why she is there and what she is reading. Does she sit there often? Is it her space? Or is she a tourist like me, who just came across a nice place to sit, like I came across a nice shot? What is her story? What was she doing just before, and just after this picture was taken? Is she happy or sad?

I suppose the point I’m trying to make is that it doesn’t really matter, because it was just a fleeting moment, in-between a zillion other moments, and I have used the capture I came across and borrowed for my own purposes, so it’s part of my story now.

© Emily Hughes and searchingtosee, 2012

On the tube

I had a bit of time this morning whilst the rest of the family was at church (happy Easter!) and so decided to make a collage with some of the other more abstract instagrams I took on the tube the other day in London. They don’t really stand up so well on their own, but as a collage I really like them. I used, which, incidentally is closing down on 19th April so you can use their advanced features for free until then. It’s very user-friendly and easy to make simple and more complicated collages. It’s a bit rough and ready but I quite like the look and feel and think I’ll experiment a bit more with this visual format.

© Emily Hughes, 2012

Red shoes

I spent the day in London yesterday with Alex. It was great just wandering around with my camera. I took lots of pictures but this snap on the tube with my iphone is one of my favourites. There was this little girl sitting opposite me and she had these really great red shoes on – you know the kind you always wanted when you were a child and you wanted to be Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz (well, if you were like me!). Anyway, I like the way, even though there is lots going on around her, your eye is drawn to that splash of red: her tights, and those shoes.

© Emily Hughes 2012

%d bloggers like this: