Mo Blog

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Harry Benson

Yesterday I had the rare and great honour of photographing legendary Glaswegian photographer Harry Benson. He spoke to a group at Waverly Gate about his life with a camera and his work at large, covering stories for magazines and media. A picture adorned the front page of his presentation: a floor spread with a copy of all of the covers from his editorial commissions. A snapshot of a lifetime given over to one craft.

It is easy to overlook the inspiration and humility that someone at the far side of their career can offer to someone at the start. Harry spoke to photographers, lecturers and students alike. A message - to have ideas and stick with it. Simple to the point of profound. His is a story with all the chapters in place, a sheltering sentiment as we all begin to write our own.


Friday, 14 June 2013

Hang Out To Dry

It's June. Again. 

The landscape inverted. Transformed from a crushing cold into brazen sunshine, as if under a passing eclipse. The rare aromas and opal light once more and the grey pavement itself breathes a hot electricity that crackles under the footfall of the city's carefree denizens. The world becomes a golden inebriant, you could drink it. The drowning darkness of winter dissipates like a glacial figment. Yet the chasm of time inbetween remains as shrouded and bridgeless as ever. Where does the time go?

Like a series of small conspiracies. Smoke and misdirection fill the unwatched minutes, until all of a sudden, three months rush you at once. From Christmas to there, a wedding, here, a birthday. April or February? Like a serial amnesiac I plunder my Diary for clues of previous weeks' activity. Reiterating hellos to people seen minutes before, and confusing the same for long unseen acquaintances, like some preoccupied impresario. Such a bumbling acceleration through time, I may as well be operated by remote control. Six months passed and the sum of my year feels like a shapeless dust blowing about in the new sun.

This enigma of time, not half unique to me, gives us the slip easier as years tick up. In my amnesiac haze though, I carry a golden thread that I can always follow back to the start, gently notched with unwasted moments. An artless chronicle that traces the months as they roll away, a script of concrete memories. This thread is my friends, and through them I am looped back on myself and fastened to the earth. Through them, time doesn't really pass at all.

In all the privileged chaos of just being alive, I prize the brief, offhand encounters the highest. Through the forgotten hieroglyphics of The Diary, reminders of minute expeditions and crash rendezvous recall themselves. An early morning drop-in or a synchronised stroll the same way. A bump in the street and a coffee shelter from a soaking. A destinationless night stroll, a lemonade on some remote lamp-lit bench. That these revolve largely around beverages, I won't even begin to account for the great syllabus of repartee that springs from the pub. At any hour, a companion is at hand. A late heartfelt jar, slowly emptying, or a great tide of glassware, washed back by the light of impending day. Small moments that defy remembering, imprint themselves deep.

Amid the unending litany of impulsions and half-plans, we get there in the end. For us, the young, with more appetite than stomach, too enthusiastic for our own busy hives, there is more satisfaction in the forgotten day-by-day than we allow ourselves. Gulping down opportunity and trajectory and new experiences in great draughts, we scarcely acknowledge the pleasant sips of what we already have. Today I am notching a mark on the right now, before I escape it again. Not behind or ahead for this blog post, I have too much to be thankful for today.

And that thanks is for my friends, that have kept pace for the last brilliant six months of 2013.