I'm a visual artist and writer in St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada.

For more frequent updates, follow me on Instagram or Medium.

Blog Archives dated June 2012

Thinking through to a book.

Walking, photographing and writing are key to my art practice. I produce a series of small recorded moments, a stream of photos and writing. Walking becomes a creative act, a way of collecting images and memories.

Blogging complements this practice, providing an impetus for me to polish things until they can be published. This editing adds order and narrative, stringing a series of small moments together into something more. I make connections: two photos placed together can carry a story in the space between them. Two diptychs placed together suggest a system.

Publishing digital photos on the web allows me a spontanaeity and freedom that I’ve never experienced when presenting photographs as printed objects. The web gives the work a liveliness that I find invigorating.

Each blog begins as a sort of public sketchbook, and over time begins to synthesize into a cohesive stream of work. With indexical, I noticed myself continuously interpreting the city as a palimpsest of contrasting visual symbols. This coincides with my interest in psychogeography and walking as a creative act. Pairing photos into diptychs has become a way to express the push and pull of meaning I experience as I wander Halifax, Corner Brook, and other places I’ve lived and visited over the past three years.

It’s a matter of finding intersections between the unexpected and the everyday. How the city presents itself, divided by how the city is. I photograph the remainder of this elusive equation.

Writing has always accompanied my photography, but has often remained tucked away in notebooks. When I published my Halifax Walking Notebook on my blog, rather than retyping and editing the text, I scanned each page and displayed the work as a series of images. Presenting my handwriting with all its struggles, scribbles and spelling mistakes gives the writing an immediacy and personality that is missing from typewritten text. It also complements the way I approach photography, rarely editing my photos beyond basic cropping, contrast and colour adjustments. I make a point of writing in public places, and the writing is frequently descriptive and steeped in firsthand experience. I often write about photography and walking.

Thus I publish my photos the way one usually writes, and present my writing photographically. This book project will be a synthesis of digital photography and analog text. These contrasts form the heart of the work.

Dark reflections

Where I have trailed off

This is closer to what I want to get at with this book project. The writing is from a trip to Montreal in 2010, the photos from when I lived there in 2006 (both were on my old photoblog, non*glossy).

Bivalve

I want to make a book of writing and photography, roughly structured around some of the diptychs from indexical. This project has been in the back of my head for a couple of years now. Whenever I thumb through old notebooks or photos I realize that I’ve probably already written a book, it’s just a matter of excavating it. So I have been brushing away the excess and starting to assemble things. One problem has always been how to integrate the writing and photos, something I experimented with on my old oughtful blog (see writing outdoors and field notes 1 and 2). I always imagined the writing would be written specifically for the book, but over the past few weeks I’ve been scanning writing from some of my recent notebooks, and I’ve started pairing the scanned handwriting with photography.

Here is a sketch of what I’ve been trying, using some material from a few years ago (Point Pleasant Park, Halifax). There are definitely some weaknesses with this that I still need to work out – the writing dominates here, and isn’t the strongest, but I like that it mentions my camera. I don’t want the photos to always depict what is in the writing, but it seemed to work here.

Content ©  2017 Matthew Hollett. RSS