My Inhuman World

Point G rocks 07

Whenever I don’t know what to take a picture of, I tend to take a picture of rocks. Point the camera at something without trace of human interference. Texture, process stilled in time. Then I look at the picture and think, I like it, but this is a bit old hat, isn’t it? But I keep on doing it. So I made all these pictures into a slide show.

It’s Mount Olympus, 1994; Point G, Bamako, Mali, 2004; river Niger, near Bamako, 2004; Constantine Bay, Cornwall, 2004; Hackney, 2005. Shown in Unhuman.

Inside cave, Lake District, December 1987

Inside cave, Lake District, December 1987

Taken a bit after this one, but a bit more my own. I love rock formations. All those metaphorically pregnant geological processes, and, ironically, the echoes of Futurism and Constructivism. Also, I think there’s something of the Philharmonic Hall going on in there. That building must have been etched into the visual and emotional systems of my brain quite early on – I would have been four when my oldest brother started going to the school prizegivings there.

Flooded valley, Lake District, December 1987

Flooded valley, Lake District, December 1987

As you can see, I was under the spell of Ansel Adams and the 35mm lens, equally. Maybe I liked this one because it looked like the kind of image they printed in how-to-do-photography books to train you to salivate at the sight of the enticing mysteries of mid-tones and the satisfying correctness of a full tonal range in black-and-white prints. As I write, I’m thinking about the typography of Ilford paper boxes, the sophisticated green of the Multigrade FB label, that took on some of that fetishistic desirability. I doubt I’ll ever aspire to know that much technical stuff about anything again. It’s a long time since I found the Apple logo remotely alluring.

A photographer and film-maker working in art and documentary who lives in London