Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Going back to the dark.

The sun is the giver of life, it nourishes us, grows our food, keeps us warm, without the sun there is no life. It is our source of light in our daily lives, bringing that light into our hearts.
In yoga we turn to the sun for our salutations, in yogic terms it awakens the solar aspects of an individuals nature and releases this vital energy for the development of higher awareness. Sun worship was one of mans first and most natural forms of inner expression.
In photographic terms, light is what we paint with, photography meaning painting with light, we use that light to express our creativity, our world, ourselves and our opinions. Traditionally we also need the dark to create the light, as we need the sun we need the moon.
Traditionally we stand in complete darkness to load our films which have been exposed through the camera in various degrees to the light. I don't think Fox Talbot or Daguerre considered themselves as radicals when the invention of photography came about in the 1800's. I don't think they would have had any idea of where photography would go looking from today's point of view. But I do think they were aware of the power of the new medium they brought to the world. Today keeping these depths of practice alive is crucial, how can we continue to grow if we don't know where our roots are, or where the seed comes from?
Once again I am going back to the dark, returning to the darkroom, teaching secondary students the trials and tribulations of black and white photography and the joys of working in the dark! I am excited to start this course, to see eyes wide as the first image starts to appear in the development tray, it's magic! As I walked into the darkroom, the first time I had been in, to this one, it was like a return home, everything seemed familiar even the smell. I haven't printed in a darkroom for four years and as I turned the enlarger on, agitated the developer tray back and forth it was like I haven't been away, a homecoming.
As we stretch our bodies in our sun salutations, we fall into meditation, as go I back to the same old processes I learnt so many years ago, it is the same and it feels good.
The image above is titled 'Light house' and was made in 1999 whilst at Brighton University; Editorial Photography.
Classes are on Tuesdays at Garden International School, Kuala Lumpur.

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