These photographs are from a longer piece of work comprising 48 photographs entitled “As a Chinese Jar”. The title is from T.S. Elliot, an eminent UK poet writing during WWII. He writes of the search for stillness, the stillness of a Chinese jar, the jar that moves perpetually in its stillness.
The work takes the form of an essay without words; there are four chapters which establish separate themes that recur or are anticipated throughout the piece. It explores places at a threshold between worlds, at stages of life and of being. These are moments of liminality which illuminate the nature of time and impermanency: T.S Eliot’s Time Past, Time Present and Time Future. Symbolic beings and structures in the essay, such as gates and birds, represent the progression of life’s stages. Form, rhythm and colour frame an approach that is ultimately intuitive and contemplative.
“During the making of Chinese Jar I asked a friend, a graphic designer, to advise me on the layout of the book. After a while, I pointed at the page where the book happened to be open and asked what he thought of the photograph itself. He looked at it, paused, thought, looked at me, looked back at the page and said ‘That footprint is about the evaporation of life, of going away, of dying’.”