Material process and visual experimentation in photography can be a social practice, a means of encounter with others and a means of interpretation. I am interested in how the wonder of photography can be a way to involve others in its process. I am working with the camera obscura and visual optics. This has and will involve making a mobile camera obscura tent and transforming rooms into one; exploring light and darkness; the visible and the invisible, through creative activities and making.
When I started the In-Situ residency, I knew I wanted to record images at the mill and in the town. In the past years I had been exploring early photography tools and methods in combination with digital technologies.
When I went to Brierfield for a conference in 2013, I wondered, if I had the opportunity, how would I work with the vast, unique space that is the mill.
I knew of Nelson in regards to CLR James and his involvement with the strikes by mill workers in the 1930s/40s; equally his passion for cricket and through his friendship with Sir Learie Constantine – when they shared a home while he was playing for Lancashire cricket team.
During my first stay at Brierfield in April, I cycled round the area, – bike courtesy of Paul Fyles (Site Manager at Northlight Mill) – found Nelson library for local & cotton history in the area, and had the delux tour of Brierfield mill, the spooky basement, the heights of the clock tower, canals and water… water everywhere. I was searching for dark chambers and dark spaces that would let me experiment with the various lenses I had accumulated and was investigating light sources I had discovered within the Mill’s spaces.
I investigated possible means of constructing a mobile camera obscura tent that was able to be easily transported and set up in the Mill and in and around Brierfield.
Dark spaces in lifts, cupboards, storage rooms, under stairs.
Using the camera obscura is a way of revealing a moving outside world, while being inside the camera. The animated images projected onto the interior sheet are an image that is both upside down and back-to-front. This is in fact just the way our eyes record what we see in the world, of reflected light on to our retina, upside down and back-to-front.
Our extraordinary brains can account for this and makes sense of this; rights this ‘back-to-front & upside-down- ness’ so we see the world the way we experience it.