Posted on June 29, 2017
A few years ago my husband and I found ourselves with a day to ourselves and nothing to do, so we went about creating an inspiration wall in our study. It’s essentially a large handmade picture frame which hangs above the desk space with a criss-cross of metal wire where I hung various images, notes and keepsakes which inspired me for different reasons. I would look up occasionally whilst working, or writing on the computer and it would always give me pause, making me stop and smile. Reminding me to breathe, and what was important. After a while, I realised I wasn’t looking at it anymore, or at least I would look at it and see the same old thing. It had become wallpaper, essentially: the same old pictures, day after day. A bit of a jumble. Today, I pulled everything off it and packed all the pictures and postcards and scraps of paper away neatly in a drawer. Then, I hauled out a stack of images which I had been storing in a cupboard. They are all taken with my rollei which I barely use these days; it’s on its last legs, I think. Every time I take a roll of film I send it off to be processed and I get the images printed and scanned. Sometimes I post them on here and sometimes I use them for other artworks, layering them and manipulating them. But the photographs – the printed images – remained, stuck in a cupboard, languishing. They are pictures of my travels, my family, moments of beauty and grace; they are memories. Each one tells a story.
The physical image is still important, isn’t it? I’m glad I took them out; now I can stop and smile, and breathe again when I look up at that wall. And here I am, posting again, so that’s got to be good! I guess sometimes we all need to press the re-set button, mix things up a little, and change the background scenery.
© words and images by Emily Hughes, 2017
Posted on March 2, 2013
It’s still so cold and bleak out.
As I walked my feet trod a dubious path of churned up mud and wasted bracken. I nodded at occasional dog walkers. Grim smiles. It was a cold day, and I kept my gloves on until I needed to take a shot. The wind whipped up around me on the open fields, and stung through the gaps in my loosely woven woolen hat. Inadequate, I now realised. I pulled it tighter under my chin and sought out bushes and hedgerows for shelter. I had my tripod, but decided to chance it, and when I squeezed the shutter I held my breath and stilled myself against the wind.
The lens picked out ghostly apparitions of dead seed heads dangling dejectedly. Their spidery limbs turned upwards, as if beseeching. They seemed to be whispering their final confession to winter’s close. When I visited them in Autumn they yet guarded a thousand jewel-like secrets; tight, alert and intent, but now they hung open carelessly, tired and resigned. Their secret treasures spent, abandoned.
After a while the wind stilled a little, and the sun showed up and played a little game of hide and seek, dancing capriciously behind the clouds.
Eventually I found what I was looking for amongst the amongst the razed, endlessly barren fields, the naked trees, the menacing thorns and the brittle, tangled weeds: Embryonic signs of almost-life
It was sweet, deliciously candy coloured, and perfectly poised. The tiniest burgeoning sprouts and shoots. Budding. Nudging into newness. Promising life, warmth and light.
I ran home like a child with a smile on my face. My cheeks rosy pink; my heart humming in time with the carefree twittering of the birds.
© images and content Emily Hughes and searchingtosee, 2013