In the midst of lockdown, after ploughing through the endless groundhog days which were weirdly (for the UK) punctuated by endless sunshine, I needed to see things differently.
I ordered a few rolls of black and white film and spent some time with an altered view. Shooting in black and white does that for me, I have to see and feel everything that comes in to focus through the viewfinder differently. I seek out different things too - there’s an emphasis on tone and texture, graphic lines and harsh light. A simplicity emerges.
So here is May on film, a combination of KODAK TMAX400 35mm and ILFORD XP2 120 🖤
Therefore, tell me:
what will engage you?
What will open the dark fields of your mind,
like a lover
at first touching?
I had a beautiful moment of dot joining this week - I got a few messages about my scrapbook style website and project, more about the screenshots I save constantly (it’s an obsession, what can I say) and another about how I seem to nourish myself really well. (that was, quite honestly, one of the compliments of my life). And I thought ’these things are one and the same’- my life is the scrapbook filled with small nourishments, and I’m dedicated to the practice of gathering them.
The scrapbook is my religion.
I wrote about it in my pages:
“I’m like a magpie, collecting small, shiny pieces through the day, bringing them to build this nest of ideas and inspiration and nourishment. Small prayers and blessings. The seeking. The attention paid.” Now stick with me dear reader because I am going to mix these scrapbook and nest metaphors until they are one and the same but I trust that you get it and can ride this ride to the end.
I spend a good portion of my day, every day, seeking, sifting, sorting. This shit is intentional.
The light on that tarp. That writer, those words, that poem. The water droplets on that blade of grass. The guitar practice that makes my fingers hurt and my brain ache and leaves me feeling like a compete noob and a motherfuckin badass all at once. The feeling on my fingertips when I run them over the curve of his back. Those lyrics that get chanted over and over, like a hymn. Watching that documentary about that artist I love and diligently taking notes. Staring at the sea. Standing alone.
I cut the pieces from the fabric of the the day, take them to the nest and build.
It requires practice. It takes time. More than anything, it requires a surrendering and a kindness extended to yourself that might be new to you. To do these things - to see, to feel, to seek, to remember - it requires putting yourself first. It requires saying yes to yourself, which often means saying no to everything and everyone else. No to that work, no to that family member, no to that chore. THIS IS THE KINDNESS. The kindness of seeing yourself, of tending to your own needs. The kindness of not abandoning yourself in that moment, and the many that will follow.
Next? You have to keep doing it. Over and over. This is the surrender. You will surrender to the fact that your nourishment, even in, especially in, those small moments, are who you are, and are non-negotiable.
The scrapbook mentality is a way of life. It’s feeling and looking and cutting and sticking. It’s messy and playful and deep and meaningful. I wholeheartedly encourage you - start feeling your way in to it, palms and eyes open.
Ask yourself - what do I need
seek it out.
Do this over and over until it becomes second nature.
The very excellent news is that one you start, you won’t stop. You’ll do it without trying. It will all just appear. Of course sometimes it won’t and you’ll dig and dig for that for that one nugget of gold in amongst the crap. But generally? So much more beauty and tenderness and feeling will show up.
Grab your scissors. Get the glue stick.
Make your nest out of the truest, shiniest shit you can find and b u i l d.
I’m ready to be blinded.