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Here’s my image for part four of Signal Chains.
I looked for a suitable image a few times in the last couple of weeks, but nothing worked for me. I think that I made two mistakes. The first was to spend most of my time looking at my pictures from Sicily, which seemed like the most fruitful recent set of images. But when I listened to the music again today, I realised that it feels urban, man-made, and dark to me; which doesn’t sit with the crisp light and pale landscapes of Sicily. Secondly, I previously listened to the track a few times and then went in search of the image that would fit my memory of the music. Instead, today I listened to it once first, so that I could pay full attention, then I set it on loop while I was looking through the images so that I could inhabit the music. I pulled out a few things here and there, but as soon as I saw this image I knew it was the right one. To say I ‘knew’ is inaccurate of course — like with most creative choices I felt it in my body, not my mind.
For me, so much of editing is quieting the mind and flowing through the images waiting for a response from my body. I’m searching for a feeling of ‘rightness’. It’s a subtle sensation, easily masked by too much thinking. I’m aiming for a relaxed, open awareness — like softening your gaze to spot small birds in the undergrowth.
It’s a weird kind of not-doing. You can set things up to improve your chances of success, perhaps playing a certain track on loop, or working in the early morning or late evening when the house is quiet. Something that will reliably push you into a highly receptive state.
But once you start editing, you have to put aside your concepts about how the process is going, or your ideas about what makes a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ picture. You’ve got to feel your way through.