I attended a short course on impressionist photography some years back. The tutor asked us what we liked about photography and I answered ‘the escape’. One of the other course members strongly disagreed. “No, no” he said “you’re missing the point. Art is the only thing that’s real.”
The night my father died I went outside and took photos of the moon. It helped me escape. And at the same time it helped me re-connect with reality. At that moment, the photography was the only thing that was real to me.
When I look back on the photos I took that night, I re-live that pocket of time exactly. I can hear the traffic on the road outside the hospice, smell the wet tarmac, feel the drizzly rain dampening my hair and face.
Later, in the days that preceded the funeral, I took photos of his house and the business he’d created. I documented the world that he lived in so that as the door closed on his life it could remain open in mine.
This is a photo I took the morning my father died. He loved taking photos in the fog. This photo sums up exactly how I felt that morning.
This is another shot from that morning. Bleak, isn’t it, but beautiful too. I do love the beauty in melancholy.
Finally, my ‘Dad Tree’. I passed this tree every time I went to visit him in the hospice. It gave me comfort to know that for all the things that go on in the world; the births, the deaths, the fights and reunions, this tree stood solidy through it all.
Is art real to you? Do you escape to it, or from it?