When my Uncle Fergus asked me if I would produce a series of photo illustrations for his new book of poetry and prose, I was extremely pleased and excited to be asked, whilst at the same time equally apprehensive that I would be unable to rise to the challenge and create anything remotely suitable to do justice to his words. After the initial stages of editing and proof-reading, I made a couple of images that I thought were passable, but not desperately good, and somewhat disheartened by my own lack of inspiration I stopped work. The project went on hold for months and sat in an A4 brown envelope on my desk, in plain view every day, waiting for sufficient creative energy on my part to get started.
One day in January 2012 I glanced at the envelope as I was sitting at my computer, and decided that I might as well start laying out the text using the Blurb book production software, and include the two images I had already made to get an overall feel for the book. This made it feel far more tangible, much closer to being a ‘real’ book than some abstract notion in my head, and with this came the flood of ideas coupled with far more confidence in my ability to achieve them. I quickly improved the initial two images, and from there the rest came surprisingly easily, as I looked though the vast repository of my photographs for starter images from which I could begin to create each individual piece. Many of my images just evolve as I am working on them – I start off with an idea of what I want to achieve but am always willing to go wherever the photograph wants me to go, as I overlay multiple images together or add textures and subtle shading. In the case of this project, I read the words that Fergus had written, and concepts popped up in my head like Spring bulbs emerging after Winter – and it couldn’t have been more pleasurable.
Over the next few days I will include a few more images from the book here, accompanied by the words that Fergus wrote. The book will be published via Blurb soon, more details to follow.
The translation is imperfect.
A postcard arrives, showing
an ocean liner. The spaceship
of the 1920’s. Despite having
understood every idea, every
nuance, with nearly perfect
accuracy, the translator still
loses by ear. The translation
has a different sound.
Not sea, but blue;
the extraordinary splendour, advancing;
timed by beat of waves
to carry away this highrise cliff of birds.
chilled on the carpet of green brushwork,
an echo poet shivers
in the ceiling’s bright watery sunlake,
not water, but salt.
© Viveca Koh / Fergus Chadwick. All Rights Reserved.