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Spectres in Blue

Visions from an English Garden

Creative cyanotype photography and poetry about mindfulness and its disruptions by external realities of environmental change and insecurity in the face of political uncertainties and misinformation.

This project started with images from old iPhone video of butterflies and birds in my garden, coupled with  'stream of consciousness' jottings in a sketchbook of quick sketches and media experiments - some of which have been further developed in Tales of Gremlin and Home Movies.  The photographs themselves were too blurry and blown out to qualify as 'photography' but as I experimented in turning them into photo screen prints, I discovered the intriguing beauty of the light and shape contrasts using Cyanotype filters in Silver FX. I was particularly intrigued by the spiky figures of dried weeds and the haunting suggested shapes through a plastic vegetable bell cloche.

So I took more photographs of light and shapes where I experimented more with the potential 'spectres' and imagined 'realities' in the garden against the backdrop of climate change, disappearing hedgehogs and political conflicts on the news. Developing my sketchbook notes as experimental poetry and looking at the work of other writers around an emerging theme of 'beauty, truth and reality.'

Unfortunately over the winter of 2023 two of my neighbours installed wood-burning stoves emitting smells and smoke that give me breathing problems. So I can no longer guarantee any peace in the garden. Unless I now take action to protect everyone's right to breathe fresh air.

The world is blue at its edges and in its depths. This blue is the light that gets lost...
This light that does not touch us, does not travel the whole distance, the light that gets lost,
 gives us the beauty of the world, so much of which is in the colour blue.

( Rebecca Solnit 2005 'A Field Guide to Getting Lost'  p29)

“Reports that say that something hasn’t happened are always interesting to me,
because as we know, there are
known knowns; there are things we know we know.
 We also know there are
known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know.
 But there are also
unknown unknowns—the ones we don’t know we don’t know.
 And if one looks throughout the history of our country and other free countries,
it is the latter category that tends to be the difficult ones.”

(Donald Rumsfeld, 2002 speaking of the Iraq War)

So my question becomes:

If beauty is truth, And truth beauty, Then beauty is blue, And blue is light, But truth gets lost,

What light do we choose to follow?

(Linda Mayoux, 2022,  Spectres in Blue)

Spectres in Blue: Photobook - click to enlarge and control slideshow

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Photobook - click here for scrollable journal format

Cyanotype Photographic Prints click for lightbox

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