Sun and Moon Pictures
Habits of sight are stubbornly persistent. We fall easily into a bloody-mindedly literalism about the reality of place and its right representation; caught up in the clear consensus expectation of what we know we should see, soon enough we stop looking at all. Our everyday reliance on shortcuts of perception is efficient, certainly, but it can also leave us wandering, pedestrian and prosaic, lost to the latent potential of other worlds that fissure through the bland blank wash of the familiar . Few places are as susceptible to the indifference of our regard as the urban-suburban borderland running between the insular sphere of home and the public orbits of industry and amusement, a zone that we pass through, blind and hurried, on our way to an elsewhere that already has our attention. Strange crucible, the ‘Diana’ camera; an unsophisticated plastic box with no bells or whistles, a tumbling tunnel vision, and an intractable disinclination to accommodate any requirements but its own ; but with this simple camera Mark Kimber has fashioned a more vivid landscape; one less ‘real’, if we believe that complacent convention is reality, but perhaps more authentic for it . The world of the Sun Pictures is at once entirely human and unpeopled; a loaded emptiness that could be either anticipation or aftermath, the composition evoking the shapes and angles of comic books and movie sets. Here in the dissolving warmth of the late afternoon light, a lone observer moves amongst sharp-edged blocks and washes of poster-bright colours.
Clean, warm, and orderly, the Sun Pictures recreate elusive visions half-sighted out of the corner of the mind’s eye, apprehended in glimpses but never fully known. Blue wall replicates blue sky, the vivid saturated blue of the sun-bright high-domed heat at the end of a summer’s day. The Moon Pictures track a colder orbit. Time shifts, colour shifts. The amplification of the element of chance enacted through the isolation of lit objects, stillness, and the compression of time. Under hovering balls of light, a figure crouches in the half distance; not an actor, this new watcher, but the intent audience of some private vision, some other world again. These scenes belong not to any particular place, but perhaps summon up the tropes of an archetypal film, never made. A vague shadowy amalgam, loose in the culture at large, of pulp novels, flying saucer films, Saturday cartoons and urban legend.
Each photographic medium has its own particular way of seeing, a visual imprint through which we view the captured image. I have always been fascinated with camera “sight”, the marvellous alchemical process of shifting 3D matter into 2D imagery. I am fascinated by the urban landscape, somewhere that has been part of my subject matter since 1980, this time I have returned to it armed with the most basic of cameras the “Diana”. The visual qualities that a rough plastic lens, two apertures (sunny and cloudy) and one shutter speed impart are engagingly theatrical in their ability to transform objects and places into vignetted scenes of illusionistic delirium. The obvious restrictions these technicalities impose are in fact blessings, they guide the user toward locations and lighting conditions that offer rich possibilities.
For me it is the urban landscape that is so compelling. Landscape often viewed from a car window at 60kph, a theatre set of isolated forms, lit by the raking light and ready for its weekend players. Gardens resplendent with manicured lawns, and plants, pedantically positioned in sculptural symmetry. The tunnel-like vision of the plastic camera concentrating our vision and the light toward a centre bright with the warm, intense and saturated colours of late afternoon and framed to exclude all but the most fundamental of shapes, textures and lines.
Mark Kimber 2007