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Friday 21 September 2018

Stronger winds, dark clouds un-forming, far away the blue, I gaze at a slither of sparkling silver as I walk, I know it's a jet plane, with human beings inside, what I see and what I know are blurry. The aesthetics of everyday life sometimes capture my attention and now and then my imagination.

As a nine or ten year old kid, I wanted to try and do something with this thing called photography, to find out what photography meant for me, in a kid type of way. I decided on a project, to photograph aeroplanes, I was into airfix kits at the time, the planes I made hung from my bedroom ceiling, a battle took place above my head, Messerschmitts, Spitfires. And the moon was somewhere as well. I found out about engines, turboprop planes, jets,  just a little reading. I also found out about London Airport, I watched planes overhead, heading for the airport, I wondered. Eventually my dad took me to London Airport, to photograph the planes, the planes were big and close, they became real for me, not just in the sky, or hanging from my ceiling. These planes were noisy, people walked across the tarmac to board the planes. I photographed this reality. Being there and making the photographs made what I had read about come to life - become part of my life-world. The photographs were my way of seeing, which felt different from what I read. My Brownie camera made a memory for me. The photographs themselves were different from my feeling-memory. I made a little book with these photographs. The photographs in themselves didn't mean anything to anyone I showed them to, I had to explain my photographs to them. I had to explain my self. I wrote some captions in the book. But I didn't feel that that was what photography was about for me. I didn't feel like explaining  my photographs. I was still left with a question of saying what photography was or what photography meant to me. This question, or variations on this question, have always lingered with me.

Another photograph, later, in the early sixties, something shifted, a different reaction from my mum and dad and sister, and an uncle, who worked for Ilford, one photograph, of a wooden fence, with snow on, and a misty winter sun, and branches of a tree. I liked the picture and other people seemed to like it also. Something about my understanding of photography and what it meant to me changed. This, later, I began to find a name for, this aesthetic 'realm', this other 'reality', this other world, of seeing, knowing, naming, language, articulations, feelings, sense, of wonder. Sometimes I still manage to make the odd photograph that means 'photography' to me in this way.

Oh, have to go, haven't re-read above words, stream of consciousness - a landscape of thoughts and feelings.

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