It was only for a few days. The immediate sensory world became a continuum of white and grey. A familiar world made strange. Almost all colour, leached from the field of vision and imagination.
By coincidence, Han Kang’s The White Book is on the reading pile. Other texts from the white world call from the bookshelf: Peter Davidson’s The Idea of North; Nancy Campbell’s Disko Bay; Barry Lopez’s Arctic Dreams; the ‘white day’ in Sophie Calle’s ‘Chromatic Diet’ from Double Game.
Watching the swirling snow outside, an incongruous memory of sitting on a baking hot bus travelling from London to Barcelona. I was reading Kenneth White’s travels in Labrador recounted in The Blue Road. I read blue but felt the white world. As if holding a cooling block of ice in my hands as the Spanish sun burnt through the window.
The Idea of White
Encounters at the White Edge
White in the White World
Mika, our cat, sits on my knee. A rush of grey flecked, white fur becomes a tactile landscape of frozen ice, glaciers and crevasses. The white world.
Then, almost as suddenly as it arrived, the thaw began. More and more of the temporary, subnivean world revealing itself each day. Colour returning. Fresh, vibrant, as if newly painted. The last ice crystals, sprinkled on living worlds of green.
Islands of residual reverse. White dissolves.
To see a new history of colour in the silent stories of the old weathered walls.
All tracks, footprints, paths were gone. Buried. He had pitched a tent on arriving: how come it had not blown off? From inside, he watched the complex improvisations of the wind. He heard how it suddenly laughed with the sand, danced with the sand, amused and irritated the sand, amused itself and got irritated with the number of grains. And finally, it became, in its desire, a mad sand god dragging monstrous winged creatures off to conquer the world.
Edmond Jabès, The Book of Questions
In a few steps, a familiar world made strange
Snow on sand births alien forms
Flecked horizon of Rothko greys
From a very brief walk along the shore at Limekilns, Fife on 28th February 2018, around 15.00. An encounter with the “Beast from the East”.
Now playing: Chaya Czernowin – Wintersongs
The low instruments were moving like the slow search of a plant towards light – CZ
(*Intrigued by this one. You can still see plenty of bricked up window spaces in Edinburgh New Town, often attributed to window taxes imposed in the 1700s, although see comment from Calum Storie below. This one looks like a cast has been taken, delineating the fan light and window frames. The inside reversed to the outside. Shades of Rachel Whiteread?)
The ‘Transitory Islands’ pic was a fairly random phone shot from crossing the Forth Rail Bridge by train – a journey undertaken many times. Perhaps this chance encounter pulled something, initially unseen, out of these raindrops:
Serendipitous encounter No. 1: (On twitter @gawanmac asked: “it just me, or is that archipelago humpback-shaped?” A delicious coincidence as a number of humpback whales had been seen in the River Forth that very week). Is that also a gull masquerading as an eye?
Serendipitous encounter No. 2: playing Julian Priester’s Love, Love and drawn to the cover which I hadn’t really looked at closely before. A view reminiscent of the outlook, crossing the Forth Rail Bridge by train, where the gulls are often seen flying below you. Some disturbance in the water, have we just missed a humpback whale breaching?
Now playing: Julian Priester Pepo Mtoto – Love, Love
On the last day of 2017, the impossible textures of the sea
A full moon emerges
Constant flux underfoot, new paths
Sustaining coastal energies, wind, sea spray
changing colours of the tide
Cloud and sea – a mirrored
the lip of land
silhouettes of breath
etched on the gloaming
A week earlier – 26.12.2017
Bookends of light
fizzle into folds of darkness
Half a silver lozenge, to pluck from the sky
We leave it to the nightwatch(er)
Taken from a series of short walks around the West Fife coast during the last week of 2017. Putting this together left an initial conundrum. How did I photograph a full looking moon and half moon less than a week apart? I posted the question on Twitter and thanks to Portals of London (@portalsoflondon), Jennie Murray (@lithgaelark) and MAW Holmes (@MAW_H) for the clarification. Basically I had taken a cycle at 29.5 days and halved it instead of taken a quarter to move from half to full. (new – half – full – half – new). However, possibly preferred Paul Kenny’s (@jmarmaduke) answer of alchemy.
Now playing: Ketil Bjørnstad, David Darling, Terje Rypdal, Jon Christensen – The Sea II