Thursday, 26 March 2009

How not to Photograph: Mr Sandman, on second thoughts bring me a gun

picture by Colin Pantall - Does the Fish have Chips?

We all dream but most of the time we forget our dreams; they fade away back into the seething pot of unconscious desires and random detritus where they belong. This is a good thing. I dream about fish, vampires and North Korea with an alarming frequency. I would love to be able to combine these dreams in a surreal photographic form. It would be a revelation to me, my inner soul revealed through my passion for art and photography. Unfortunately I don't have the time or energy to set up the lighting, buy the fish, paint the papier mache or cast the Kim Jong-il lookalikes.

Thank goodness for that! It would be a revelation to me, but an exercise in eyeball-churning tedium for everyone else, solipsist self-indulgence that would turn every right-thinking person's stomach to milk shake. We should endeavour to keep out dreams to ourselves, our neuroses under control, to lock it in, not let it all hang out.

Of course, there are people that are good at getting under the skin of the human condition. They have an irresistible momentum that comes from being older, wiser and more crackerjack than the average photographer, with more time, money and talent to hand. There is a place for this kind of thing in other words, and for me that place belongs to Gilbert Garcin ( and Teun Hocks, but if we were all Everyman, who would be left to inhabit the real world?). The rest of us should make like the English, keep the upper lip stiff and hide it all away.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

AWESOME! Now, you need to remember to include the issue of never showing what you once thought were good photographs, but which now, because you have 'moved on' and your 'style' has changed are no longer relevant to your curent ........ viewpoint.

AWESOME
SA

colin pantall said...

AWESOME comment, SA. I think you can rationalise work into current practice under the idea that the old pictures are the footsteps that lead to the new work.

Anonymous said...

YES, thats' just so right, and we should only ever show the last picture taken.
Never look back....yeah right!
AWESOME
SA

colin pantall said...

Have you got anyone in mind, AWESOME, because a lot of people don't think that at all. I don't for sure.

Anonymous said...

Actually I had you in mind remembering how avidly you deleted all the Gr. Pl. pictures from your site.......or was that something else?
SA

colin pantall said...

Hi Simon:

I'd love to have everything, especially Grosvenor Place, on my website but it's underedited already and if I had everything I liked on there it would look incredibly random. That's why I put work on my blog, a good place to be random on including the Grosvenor Place work. There's a link on the last post to a flickr edit.

So they are still around.

http://colinpantall.blogspot.com/2008/04/12-grosvenor-place.html

http://colinpantall.blogspot.com/2008/04/12-grosvenor-place_22.html

http://colinpantall.blogspot.com/2008/04/12-grosvenor-place_21.html

http://colinpantall.blogspot.com/2008/11/12-grosvenor-place-sequencing.html

Anonymous said...

I am ever so confused. The background photos (KFC and Beerstore) look exactly like a plaza near where I gre up in Burlington, Canada - and near an excellent fish'n'chip shop. But you are in Bath?

colin pantall said...

Hi Anonymous - it's the very same Burlington, Ontario. Go back on the blog and there are a whole load of pictures of Burlington. I used to live in Toronto and my lovely wife's lovely family are from Burlington (about 10 minutes walk from here) so I visit there quite often.


http://colinpantall.blogspot.com/2008/07/one-mile-from-home.html

Anonymous said...

Thanks Colin. I just stumbled across your blog and was enjoying all the lovely photographs and your insights into photography so it was a bit of a shock to see the Beer Store I knew so well. I lived in the Leighland/Treeland area (street where the grey house was photographed) so it was good so see your photos after I moved away ten years ago. I've enjoyed your blog a lot. Thank you.

colin pantall said...

My wife was born on Leighland Road - her parents were refugees from Slovenia/Yugoslavia at the end of the Second World War - the whole street was full of Eastern Europeans who were given land to build on, built garages, lived in those, then built houses, and then watched the orchards and fields around them get turned into strip malls, chemical works and the 401 I think.

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