Formative - Re Engineered
Memory is a funny thing. As older one gets the more the memory slips away from the crisp 20/20 vision of yesterday to the mist of time long gone. Fortunately, as a photographer, one builds up a collection of images that can help fill in the gaps that the mind has decided to no longer recall.
Yet that is not the whole story. For one thing how a photograph survives is as much a function of fate as anything else. Over time our priorities change and the chances of any photograph surviving more than a few years starts to decrease. In the end all that is left is a patch work of images that is no more comprehensive than the surviving the memories. We all probably have an old photo album that we can remember but have no idea where it might actually be. Perhaps One day we might find it but then again perhaps not.
There is a whole genre of photography based on finding other people's lost images. The finders then can try and understand the context of the photograph but usually end up imposing what they think it might be. In a strange way this is the same for these images. They represent work I created over 30 perhaps 40 years ago. They have been collecting dust in some old folder until I decided create a digital copy of them. I then re edited them to make images that I felt worked for me at the time. Yet as the most of the re editing took place over 12 years ago they represent two phase of my photographic practice: The formative and the Digital Explosion.
So what do these images represent? The most obvious thing is that they record a photographer trying to understand his art. Today it is easy it is to edit images. This was not the case when these images were captured. The only darkroom available was a friend's bathroom so the whole image captured became the photograph. Anyone with slightest knowledge of the history of photography will know that this is not how some of the greatest photographic images were created. They are usually crafted within a dark room thus allowing the photographer to draw out the elements of the image required. However, these images were created with none of those constraints. Instead they bring out the elements that I now feel make them better photographs than the originals.
Beyond any aesthetic value they also record a world that has disappeared. The mining community has gone; Many of the people are no longer with us and the claustrophobic small world recorded here would be incomprehensible to anyone born in the last 30 years or so. Our lives have moved on. Photography has moved on.
So there we have it. An amalgam of the old and the new brought together to try and explore the photographs I created during my formative period.
Simon Marchini - June 2019
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