leo photophile

Through a glass darkly

Scenes from a marriage

This is not about a marriage of mine; nor is it, as in the title of Ingmar Bergman’s television series of the above name, any particular marriage, though inevitably partakes of both; mainly it is a way of bracketing some of my photographs taken over forty years. So this category comprises pictures which create for me an unexplored sense which lies behind the meaning of the word marriage. Here is the phtograph which recently gave rise to the idea. It was taken in the late sixties. My then wife was an accomplished dressmaker.

 Form Form

This next picture represents the period immediately following a row when it feels as though something has been irrevocably destroyed. Objects with which one lived in harmony have become estranged and the dread is that this has come about through one’s own actions. For what is spoiled to become vital again would seem to require a miracle. In such a wasteland one either defends one’s corner or prays for a resurrection. It is the latter position that Melanie Klein recognizes as a depressive anxiety. Whether my slanting image does convey the sense of disenchanted objects, I am unsure; I may simply be reading into it. But I am conscious of not wishing to resort to a pathetic fallacy and use conventional symbols of a wasteland. My photographs of the Gorbals presents a wasteland but within which there rises a vital spark. 

Spoil Spoil, 1995 

The next picture expresses a sense of prevention. In a recent discussion here is how the state of ennui was described to me:

“Ennui is a rich word, and describes a way of seeing beyond that of most people coupled with a disregard for the humdrum and a fascination with the miniscule or un-noticed scenes. Ennui is a state of boredom but different. A glazedness or malaise brought about by lack of stimulation and leading to a disdain or weariness for all things.” 

Compare this with the quote from Andrei Platonov’s The Foundation Pit in my First Post

Ennui of the cooker Ennui of the cooker 

The next picture expresses that part of the self that is untouched by relationship and remains an exile within marriage. It symbolises the thing in one that, despite being known, is of its nature solitary and remains isolated throughout. Then the other is not experienced as being there and is only there should they choose to stay.

 Mystique of the cloakroom Mystique of the cloakroom

And this one speaks for itself or, as Rab Noakes (1972) put it:

Drunk again Drunk again!


September 2, 2006 - Posted by | black and white photography

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