Welcome to Season 2 of Signal Chain. This pop-up newsletter is a creative collaboration between generative musician Duncan Geere and photographer Oliver Holms.
We’re taking turns to send new work to each other. Each new piece is inspired by the piece before. We’re building a chain of influence together and you’re along for the ride. New instalments are released on the 1st and 15th of every month, and you can unsubscribe at any time using the link in the footer.
I finally listened to the latest Signal Chain in the cab back from my shoot on Friday night and I love it. I think that it might be my favourite track of yours yet. Perfect nighttime passenger music. I have such a soft spot for strings, cellos in particular, and even more so when they’re looped and layered. I love the feeling that I’m dissolving into a sea of vibrations.
This week I’m reminded that so much of photography is a waiting game; though the waiting is active, not passive. Often it’s best to start shooting and looking and see what arrives once you’re working. Hanging around for inspiration to arrive doesn’t work. Even when you walk around with the intention of making a picture, it’s hard to create the conditions for a good photograph through sheer force of will alone. Luckily you don’t need god rays and atmospheric theatrics — just get started. Shoot and see.
The world and its contents are transformed when photographed. Something that wasn’t that promising to the eye, can become much more interesting when frozen and flattened. It’s fitting then that the picture I chose for this episode of Signal Chain was made at my kitchen table.
When I listened to your track the first time, the evolving loops and layers felt organic to me. They suggested the growth, striving and endurance of nature; particularly of plants; working in cycles, with and against the elements. A few days ago, I shot some promising pictures of hoarfrost on trees and plants, backlit by low winter sun filtering through mist. The pictures at my table had been an afterthought. Just a few quick snaps to capture some passing light, a bunch of flowers, and an interesting mood.
However, as I listened to your track a few more times, I felt jangled. There’s tension and urgency to it. A foreboding feeling simmering below the surface — especially in the first half of the piece. I wanted a picture that could convey some of this duality — strength and fragility. The misty images were pretty, but one-note, so I abandoned them. The above picture stood out however; it was the only image of the set where I’d focussed on the background not the flower. The other images in this series just document a lovely bouquet, but this one is doing something different. The flowers are abstracted by the focus shift. While they’re no longer the focal point, they still dominate the image. They frame the tower block and collapse the pictorial space, becoming one with the skyline, looming over the buildings. Perhaps they’re a harbinger of a far future where plants prevail and tower over the remains of manmade structures? Perhaps they’re just dying flowers in a vase in the kitchen of a tower block, looking out over the city? Perhaps they’re both.