I mentioned in this Rhizomes post that my still photography that is made whilst walking with the standard poodles in the local bushland has been in the process of changing. It had been changing from photography as a way of objectifying and distancing us from the world towards an understanding that the practice of photography is similar to the practice of meditation. Similar in the sense of paying mindful attention to whatever is occurring in the moment.
This is akin to the immersive processes that Walter Benjamin and Theodore Adorno called mimesis — – a basic open comportment to the world. Adorno held that a mimetic capacity is spontaneous, pre-reflective, non-conceptual and rational and that it is the moment of the elective affinity between knower and known. We have become oblivious of our immersive mimetic capacity in modernity since in Western history, mimesis has been transformed by Enlightenment science from a dominant presence into a distorted, repressed, and hidden force. In modernity art is a refuge for mimetic comportment.
Initially mimesis as mediative seeing means that the automatic habitual view of the familiar world of an agricultural landscape that I am walking through in the early morning is replaced by being in a space with a keen sense of the unprecedented and unrepeatable configuration of each moment. In the photo below the particular moment of being in the world was a momentary one. The sun suddenly appeared in the background and the mist quickly evaporated.
This embodied clear seeing of a walking photography practice is less a form of contemplative state of mind and more of an empty one coupled to bodily awareness. It is a spontaneous intuitive seeing that is pre-conceptual. Embodied because the intuitive seeing is initially more felt and spontaneous than reflective ie., evaluating and judging the view around me for the sake of making a more considered composition.
This update on making photos whilst walking with Maya along the coast starts to explore ways of augumenting the still photography. Large format art photography has been my way of creating an art work from these poodlewalks, which are embedded in a particular place.
Maya is now between 5-6 months old and she is quite comfortable walking for an hour or so with me along the coastal rocks on the southern Fleurieu Peninsula. As we are on the cusp of winter in South Australia there is early morning cloud cover, the showers sweeping in from the south west are more frequent, and the coastal winds are much stronger.
Whilst I’ve been on these early morning walks I thought that it would be interesting to find a way to show what Maya is hearing, smelling and seeing whilst she is with me. I have no idea how to do this, but I started wondering how Augmented Reality (AR) could add to these kind of walks; or alternatively what could be added using generative AI for texts written by ChatGPT, or an image using Midjourney.
I quickly realized that generative AI is step too far for me as is that that version of AR with its overlay of digital data on top of the real world that is consumed through a camera-and-sensor-laden headset. There is little point in the latter as few people would have the required equipment that mediates the entire world through screens placed centimeters from users’ corneas that makes the whole world a screen.
However, there is a space for something along the lines of supplementing, augmenting, adjusting, or overlaying reality; such as supplementing the still photography is a video. A video offers sound and movement that would augment the frozen moment of the still photography. I need to do more video as I am not sure about podcasts or films, as is done with MAP‘s. Nor do I have the connections to collaborate with a writer like the SALT project which was commissioned by Art Walk Projects.
The weather is becoming warmer in September, with temperatures in the mid-20’s on some days. More people are starting to venture out in the morning.
Brian, Rosetta Head
It is not just those regulars who are out every morning rain, wind or cold. Other people are walking along the coastal trails, hanging out on the beaches, playing with their dogs and kids, or fishing and surfing.
We are at the mid-February point of summer and the weather has been more of the same: cool and overcast with just the odd hot day with a north easterly wind. The hot weather started this week but it is forecasted to last for only several days this week — not the normal two weeks. Maybe that will come in March.
At the moment I ‘m running my film stock down before I make the major annual purchase through B+H in New York. I have only half a box of the 5×7 Kodak Portra 160 ASA left.
It’s been a matter of selecting the location, knowing the time the light shines on the trees, setting the camera up, then waiting for the light to shine through the trees at the required time. Often the moving cloud cover means that there is no sunlight. So the large format equipment is packed away in the Forester and I continue the poodlewalk with Kayla.
I have decided to upgrade the poodlewalks blog from the free WordPress blog platform that I have been using for so long to more of a website platform with its own blog and galleries. The galleries will bring the offshoots or spinoffs from poodlewalks that are currently on various standalone Posthaven blogs–abstractions, the trees series, and the Littoral Zone. The blog will continue the traditional poodlewalks format with the website titled known as poodlewalks.
My reason is that a lot of my daily photography —outside specific projects like Mallee Routes—centres around poodlewalks. I am walking twice a day –in the morning and afternoon–with each of the walks around an hour’s duration. If the light is right, then the walks are 1.5-2 hours in duration. Often I go back and reshoot for the Fleurieuscape book and portfolio. The new format will bring all the work around poodlewalks together.
Suzanne has left Cuba and is now staying in Oaxaca in Mexico for 12 days or so before she and Lariane return to Australia.
In the meantime the household chugs along with its daily routines in the balmy autumn weather, with its still, sunny days.We are usually up before sunrise walking along the back country roads:
dawn, Baum Rd, Waitpinga
With the walk over I have time to take some photos with the Linhof film cameras as the sun starts peeping through the trees and lightens up bits of the roadside vegetation. The images have been scoped on earlier walks and the time when the sun lightens up the trees duly noted. So it is just a matter of setting things up and waiting.
We drove up to Magpie Springs winery this afternoon to scope some photos for their photographic competition. It is situated in the Adealide hills just past the township Willunga on the road to Meadows.
The poodle walk consisted in us slowly walking around the 80 acre property seeing what was there.
stone, Magpie Springs
There is a lot to look at on the property–ponds, water lilies, trees, old machinery, buildings, landscape, vines— and these would change with the morning and afternoon light. Several visits would be needed to become familiar with the property and the different lighting conditions. This makes for an interesting competition.
Ari and I have come down to Victor Harbor to escape the Adelaide heat and to scan a 5×7 negative for a print that has been selected for the Adelaide City Council’s Snap Your City competition. It is refreshingly cool and pleasant on the coast. Summer has arrived in South Australia.
monolith, Victor Harbor
This seascape work is topographical in that represents the surface of a landscape and a place–topographical in the sense of place (topos) and modes of perception (tropos). These are small gestures in a specific place.
Gestures in the way of a map that is not ‘mimetic’ – ie., will not straightforwardly represent the actual space, but one that reflects or expresses the distortions and omissions of the individual’s personal experience of living in this place now being affected by climate change.
Last week, on one of our back country road walks looking for possible pictures for the conceptual photography book on pink gums and Xanthorrthoea, Ari and I stumbled across this scene:
roadside vege, Mt Hill Rd, Victor Harbor
It looked good on the computer screen–a candidate for the book— and so we went back on the following afternoon to reshoot it with a film camera. But I couldn’t find it, even though I searched everywhere. As I’d deleted most of the pictures on the SONY NEX-7 I couldn’t retrace my steps from the sequence of pictures. I returned the following morning and started from the other direction of the walk to no avail.
Ari and I went walking along a back country road west of Victor Harbor yesterday afternoon looking for more material for the conceptual photography book I didn’t find much in the way of the pink gum and Xanthorrhoea combination, but it was an enjoyable walk along Wilson Hill Rd. I found myself wondering how difficult it would be like to take pictures with a digital field view camera. Would it need to be tethered to a computer?
on Wilson Hill Rd, Victor Harbor
This part of the Fleurieu Peninsula region is dairy country and there is very little native bush left. This region been extensively cleared.
Thinking in terms of regionalism—the expression of a type of local identity—recalls the divisions between figuration versus non-figuration, and regionalism versus internationalism in the early 1970s where there was an identification of foreignness with non-figuration that was set against an emerging post-colonial regional cultural identity (Antipodeanism) that did not seek to create a national style.