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Category: Memories

The Layers of Memory locked within the streets of London

Posted in Cycling, London, and Memories

Bright and early this morning, I got up, put on the lycra and cycled across four London Boroughs to get to the newsdesk that I’m at this week.

I’ve missed cycling for pleasure since the start of my course, but today, commuting held a special wonder as the chill in the air was refreshing, reminiscent of a spring birthing.

Whizzing past numerous streets, I came across old roads that I’d lived on, made roots in, felt ecstatic traversing through and others where I was silenced and pierced with pain that I couldn’t carry on my fragile shoulders.

Never losing sight of the tarmac ahead of me with the snaking, unpredictable traffic, I found myself being coated in my memories as I passed familiar sites and sounds on the streets that had once opened their arms out to me in an affectionate embrace.

I stumbled upon cafes where I’d sat and basked in the sun, had serious conversations with many a friend and saturated my being with coffee and expressos into the small hours of the morning. Sidled up next to restaurants where a hurried lunch was grabbed and other hidey-holes where I’d unloaded myself. A network of personal meaning and depth that I cannot deny.

London has been my home now for over twelve years and certain places are steeped with layer upon layer of meaning, memory and emotions. Some with a tinge of sadness that spikes tears in me, others filled with beauty and wonder like looking up into the green leaves of a tree with the sun breaking through the verdent canvas.

I’ve loved, I’ve lost but always with intent and at times have wondered the streets of a cruel and brutal city feeling raw and newborn, trying to contain it all.

This great metropolis has adopted me and occupies a precious place within me. I know it like an intimate lover and find it impossible to get fully lost within its folds and turns. There is always a cherished sense of wonder at my appropriated home even though it can hurt and bruise me.

London you have my heart.

Gender Identity and Breaking and Dissolving Barriers

Posted in Documentary Photography, Gender Identity, Identity, Memories, Personal Work, Politics, and Portraiture

A few weeks ago I went to The First Daedalus Sharing where The Black Smock Band performed and Daedalus Theatre presented current works.

I met Alex Swift an actor who has been starting a new piece of work called Travesty. I was instantly struck by the piece as he was performing in drag and questioning gender constructs. The reason why this gripped me so much was for the last year and a half I have been shooting and thinking around a body of work on gender and identity. I met with Alex yesterday and hope to do a shoot with him and to tell his narrative for this piece. Not giving away too much right now but hope to share this in the coming months.

Fundamentally this work is about pushing past the demarcations and systems set up for us around our gender identity and as Alex put it yesterday, ‘dissolving those barriers’ to get people thinking and challenging their preconceptions. I am interested in discussions around these issues as this body of work will involve a person’s narrative, experiences and stories in text to go alongside the stills. I will be recording interviews as I hope to incorporate that element to produce a mutimedia piece. I am hoping to push at the boundaries/barriers and hope this work stimulates a lot of thought for those that see it.

I’m always looking for sitters who are interested in taking part in this project. Feel free to field some questions my way as it is constantly evolving and I know I have only partially explained it here – do get in touch!

Auditory Reminiscence

Posted in Memories, and Music

Last night, I didn’t sleep until the small hours of the morning. It wasn’t the usual pest of insomnia keeping me from slumber but the joys of listening to music on my iPod. One of my regrets of cycling everywhere is that I don’t get to read or listen to music as part of that commute. Earlier in the evening I tuned into a radio station and heard a couple of sections on two bands that I used to listen to many years ago. I’m not going into too much detail about which bands as this isn’t meant to be a fanpage and I’ll let you supplant your own musical tastes onto it!

Both albums that were played catapulted me right back to those earlier years. Memories of the people around me at those times swam up to the surface clearly. It still amazes me how music can strike such a resonant chord within each of us. I know I am not alone in the nostalgia that music brings, both painful and pleasant.

I go through moments where life pitches up round the corner and takes me on a whirlwind tour where I get so busy that I don’t listen to any music for months at a time. I suppose I’d just been through an aural drout recently and not realised it until I decided to tune in to the radio station. This gave me a push to dig out the iPod and listen again as all my actual music is packed away at the moment.

When I was a teenager, music was very important to me. It was my world and I followed it religiously. I played guitar and bass badly, wrote songs and mumbled vocals in bands that never went anywhere. I loved it as it was a way to build a world and a way to escape into the richness of the tapestry that music can weave around you. A song can speak to you and for every person it can have a very individual meaning. I adore immersing myself in a song and hearing the soaring vocals, the pulsing bass lines and the multitude of layers in a song that often encompass varying emotions. I’m not a purist either, I used to be but now, I have a very diverse taste in music, it really is as simple as if something speaks to me deeply then I will listen to it and most likely treasure it.

There are no pictures with this blog post – I think we can all furnish it with music that evokes times past for each of us. Happy listening!