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Tag: life and death

On time, passing

harsh light fading to gentle light on reeds next to a riverThere were many moments over the last few months when I wished I’d been on time. On time to be somewhere, on time for a deadline or a project, on time to see someone or do something.

Then one moment gathered all those moments. When I needed it most, I was there. I was with him, and he knew it. Knew me. Not just in that final second, but in the weeks, months and nights that led to it. This moment had stitched itself through many others.

It still haunts me, that I might not have made it. That my dad might have died without me. Not alone, not unloved, but with everything for us still unresolved. I had one like that this year. It’s too harsh to ever describe.

So, right now, I guess that’s how I’m feeling. That all those smaller moments add up. There’ve been plenty of times in my life that I didn’t make it. Times when other loved ones have been alone. But this time, yeah, this one damn time. Time was with me. For once, it was on my side.

Time seems to have left me since then. It’s like the usual elasticity of time has worn out. It’s still elastic, but it’s so thin I don’t sense it the same way. I read clocks and understand that I’m late or early. But I’m adrift in a sea of seconds or maybe hours. I’m strangely happy this way.

I know it’ll stop. I know I’ll adjust.

You know what, though? Right now, in this long and lengthening moment, I’ll stand. His invisible hand in mine. Watching time and all its inhabitants rush by.




a river, surrounded by stone walls. black and white photo.

time is a river

I put markers in
like stepping stones
to remember,
I send leaves drifting
to forget.

the river drags it all away.
a stone sinks,
a memory fades.
submerged leaves resurface;
suddenly rise and sink again.

I cling to the river
try and cease its passing

it forges on
pulling me with it.
behind me
someone falls behind.

House of film – The Black Rose

A personal note

This is not a review of Trent Parke’s magnificent and sombre work, but a gentle personal impression.

This last week found me once again in the beautiful halls of the Art Gallery of South Australia, seeing Trent Parke’s ‘The Black Rose’.

One series of images from the exhibition showed a defrosting snake next to a demolishing house – ‘The house of film’.

For me, the house of film was about decay and destruction. It was one of many series and images in the exhibition that flirted with the same theme.

I won’t say more than that. It’s early in the exhibition’s run and I wouldn’t want to spoil it for anyone else. I will say that if you go, take your time. And go more than once. There’s a lot to take in.

In the same week, I also went to hear Trent’s talk with exhibition curators Julie Robinson and Maria Zagala and guest speakers Alasdair Foster, freelance art writer and curator, and Bronwyn Rennex, Director of Stills Gallery.

The combination of this talk and Trent’s artwork is an incredibly generous gift.

In addition to the particular sombre beauty of the exhibition, it was heartening for me personally. I live, with a lovely man, in a house of film. The formats come in all manner of sizes, but mostly bear shades that fall between black and white. While I usually shoot 35mm, I’m just as happy with the digital format and am willing to try whatever works. To see and hear that an accomplished creative photographer like Trent is happy to mix media – 35mm, large format and digital – was wonderful. It provided a personal connection to an incredible artist.

It didn’t stop there.

Think of your favourite artist. Is it van Gogh? Van Dyck? Imagine visiting their hometown, seeing their work, understanding that you held the same sort of brush and . . . then there’s an image. An image of a place you’ve been. A place that perhaps you even tried to capture.

For me, that image was ‘Pirate Ship’ at St. Kilda.

I’ve stood there. Same stones. Same sky. But that guy stood there too. He came out of his house of film and captured my world. And then he turned it around and showed it to me.

A more vivid and unforgettable reaction to a piece of art I couldn’t imagine.

Art at its very, very best.

Trent Parke, once again, has found the extraordinary in the ordinary.

A note for educators: for those interested in seeing the exhibition with a study group or class I can heartily recommend Trent Parke, The Black Rose, Education Resource PDF, prepared by the Art Gallery of South Australia.

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