Clarice BECKETT 1887–1935: Collins Street, evening . 1931
I came across the phrase, ‘dissolving edges’ while reading the book ‘My Beautiful Friend‘, describing a way of seeing in a non literal way. You know that there are hard edges there but I prefer the subtle complexity of seeing light wrap, seep and dissolve. Just squint and you can feel it. There is something to reflect on if you believe (as I do) that the most successful examples of art capturing that feeling of light is through words (try James Salter – immerse yourself in one of his masterful books, Light Years or Burning the Days – a wonderful title that evokes so much, and I have borrowed myself) or paintings (The glorious tonal studies by Clarice Beckett are amongst my favourites). While one of the least effective, and most challenging medium, in my opinion, is the photograph – a photo doesn’t lie but but the most literal interpretation of what you see can also be the most soulless. I want to capture the feeling of light that glows, ebbs, and renders hard edges soft.
I spent a few days in Melbourne recently (Clarice Beckett’s home town) and was able to wander the streets at the moments when the light was low and soft, golden and reflecting off the buildings and windows. I was able to burn a few hours chasing reflections and shadows in the early morning and evening light. I turned at times to the old shop windows where images reflected and refracted through the old warped glass adding subtle distortions. While I didn’t really get any decent shots, it is a meadative process spending time on the street, in no particular hurry to get anywhere.
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