6. Things that make the heart beat faster
What is this really all about ?
I found myself during this week in the situation where I had to explain what I do as a photographer. People often ask me what my photography is about. I’m always a bit embarrassed because I’ve always been reluctant to answer that question in a clear-cut version. I’m always tempted to answer what George Costanza says when he has idea for a show in Seinfeld.
If I answered that, it would be as false as thinking Seinfeld is about nothing, but it is true that I don’t work in series that have clearly defined subjects. At the heart of what I do, is what you can probably call a photo diary. If I have regularly shown series extracted from my archives, on the internet, in exhibitions and two short photobooks, I have yet to present it in a comprehensive way, as a whole.
I’d prefer people to deduce what it’s about from the particular recurring themes and motifs observed on the long-term. What is a photo diary about ? Often they show intimacy, time passing, finding beauty in the ordinary, meeting people. There are things that come back in the photos: places, seasons, weather, people, moods. There are things that don’t come back: the moment the photo was taken, and some people.
1. Things that don’t move
I went to the patrimonial library on the last day of an exhibition of two Tolkien tapestries made by the Cité internationale de la tapisserie Aubusson. They were lent to be shown in conjunction with drawings made by the Queen of Denmark for The Lord Of The Rings. She is also an artist, is married to a french man, and has a residency near my hometown. I’ve seen her a few times, shoping at the farmer’s market.
At the Library I realized I made two photographs of busts I have already taken on 35mm Ilford hp5+ film with my Nikon FM2 in 2015, with a few other ones.
2. Places that stay there
The day after, I walked in the neighborhood I was raised in, until I was 14 years old. This is ordinary, boring France certainly, but these photos show places that are not indifferent to me. In one of these is the house I lived in as a child.
3. Walking through the seasons
I read Sei Shōnagon’s Pillow Book after seeing the film of the same name made by Peter Greenaway in 1996, and I was struck by the lists she made, one in particular.
Things that make the heart beat faster
Saturday, it was my 48th birthday, we went for a walk in the countryside, and we took with us a pig costume made by a friend for my wife, as she needed photos a child wearing it for a screenwriting residency she’s in, and our son had fun wearing it.
4 Places that we leave behind
Monday, I helped my childhood friend to move to the countryside. That’s why my newsletter was delayed.
4. In the end
I love Sei Shōnagon’s book. I have it in french and english somewhere but couldn’t find it again, it so I ordered a new english copy. I should have received it when I sent the next newsletter.
Thank you for reading me, I’ll post the next newsletter on Monday, or Tuesday at the latest.
I’m thinking of launching another newsletter, dedicated to the film-making side of my work, with videos and music. Please let me know if this would be of any interest to you.
À bientôt !
Thanks for reading Seasons, a Journal by Alain Astruc! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.