Category Archives: photography
One of the skills I’ve developed over the last few years – some might prefer to call it a psychological condition – is the ability to see characters and meaningful narratives emerging from otherwise perfectly natural settings. Characters can have anything from just a face to a whole body, and they don’t have to be human or humanoid. Horses, dogs, reptiles, aliens, monsters…
Monsters are easy to see. Monsters are everywhere. I see monsters on the back of my eyelids every time I close my eyes. I don’t pay them too much attention unless they fit into a wider narrative with other characters around them, like that time I found the deceased bodies of a man and a woman in the Wallagaraugh with their faithful dog and a few cattle scattered around them and then spotted the bugbear hiding near the campfire with one arm around the neck of a guy wearing an akubra hat.
One of these days I will collect all of my interweavings on the subjects of pareidolia and ekphrasis, and I will produce a coffee table book of it. I think I’ll call it ‘On Pareidolia and Ekphrasis’ and I’ll make the coffee table out of a mixture of moving water, stones of various sizes, and sustainable timber.
For now though, I would like to share a few pieces I made this weekend during a visit to Telegherry River, Chichester State Forest NSW. I’ve given them tentative interpretations to work from but I’d be stoked if anyone would like to offer alternative readings–poems, short stories, titles. You name it.
1. A downcast medieval warrior. Mourning the death of a friend, or maybe reflecting on the horrors of war.
2. One of the orangutans from Planet Of The Apes spying through a crystal ball encrusted in a cave wall at a small band of adults and children huddled together. One man – or perhaps a woman – appears to be addressing the group; probably about to embark on a dangerous journey from which she may not return.
3. Persephone and Hades: recreation of a “tondo of an Attic red-figured kylix, ca. 440–430 BC“
That last configuration of Persephone and Hades requires some added patience to see. I’ve inserted the source image below in the hope that one might spot the similarity between them. Hades is particularly difficult to find, but he and Persephone are nevertheless both showing the same profile.
The backrest of my front seat’s reclined
all the way back
(I’m the driver,
there is no passenger),
and I’m getting a clear view -
without the pointers,
through a gap
in the cloud, from parked in a dark shadow
between an inch-crack of light
from the motorhome windscreen
shield I can shift my eyes leftwise
(cornerwise peer through my rearview)
someone raising and clumsily turning
broadhsheeted newspaper pages through
without lifting my head
from my pillow,
the spectre of the brown sedan
abandoned before me,
bits of an Old Pacific Hwy
electronic signage board
incoherent alternating messages
upwards through, here one moment
and there across the leaves
in the ever so slight breeze
of the dark shadow
I’m parked in
the next, and from the other side
I’m mostly facing
up and away to that gap in the cloud
I raised earlier, series’
tail each other
The BBC radio culture show’s on,
my phone’s charging,
and there’s one damned mosquito
keeps buzzing my free ear
for whom I am keeping the roof light
lit until I can smack
the annoying old sucker.
I drift off to sleep.
Not so long later
I’m waking up
to the music of memory.
I can’t put my finger on whether it’s
Ayah or maybe Hadith.
The cross has gone sideways a bit
and the pointers are there.
I reach to turn up the volume
and there on my thumb
is the mozzie
having a piece of me.
I give it a smack of my right hand
and wipe it away.
I cat nap through to the morning
all the time noting
the cross leaning over
a bit more.
Around 4am I can’t get back to sleep
for trying to picture
how Scorpio got there
to be stretching out over the cross,
but I wouldn’t expect would be there
in 6 months
despite me expecting
the cross would still be there
around the same pillow
if I was to come back
in 6 months
and put it right back
where it was now.
I drive into Brooklyn
and wait for the sun to come up
in between setting long exposures
over Dangar Island
from the padlocked gateline
between where I remember Brooklyn used to go
and where it goes now
(a few meters past the Brooklyn ferry service),
Lior and Nigel Westlake
doing Inna Rifqa on repeat
on YouTube on my smartphone,
my left arm tingling a bit,
and me thinking
‘God! I am torn.
I have one friend who doesn’t believe
in a Soul
and one friend who does.
This is as good a place as any
for me, now’
wiggling my fingers
and waving a fist.
Continued on to Big Breakfast -
Bacon, Eggs, thick buttered toast, etc.
Went to start up the car.
Sat back in the sun and waited with a coldie, brush turkeys, pelicans, and cockies for the NRMA to turn up.
“Yep. Yer battery’s reached the end of its life. Did you notice it getting a bit slower?”
“No. It was fine a couple of hours ago. Came back from breakfast and it just refused to turn over.”
notes on The Soul:
Passenger – ‘Featuring Lior’ – Rivers
Lior – This Old Love – (Last time I was married, this was ‘our song’)
The spark for the above? See below.