Nocturnes – a composition, or piece of music that is inspired by, or evocative of the night.
My 2nd book project has been evolving over the past two months.
Initially, I just knew I wanted to do a second book, and had slated some time in for a trip to Iceland this December / January with the hope that something might come out of it. I had no idea at the time if the 2nd book would be about Iceland, but I did hope that it might be.
A Journal of Nocturnes
I’ve learned, that things don’t always pan out the way you intended them, and to have a fixed idea of what it is you want to do – is too rigid. Certainly, having something to focus towards is a great motivator, but I also need to leave some room for change, and be able to consider that what I’m working on might not be the right fit, and something else might be better.
My 2nd book is taking shape quite strongly now. I originally had the idea of putting a book together about the south coast of Iceland and my ventures there to photograph the black sand and ice bergs. This brought me on to think about how to merge two different shoots – one from last Summer when I created a lot of very dark, monochromatic images of the black sand and ice bergs, and the more recent shoot this December/January, where the images are much more optimistic, light in tone and as a result – have a very different feel. This created a bit of a problem for me, and I felt the book was not gelling as well as I’d liked.
I felt that I wanted to add in some stories too, and give the viewer of the images some context, an idea of what I was feeling at the time. So over the past few months stories – some almost like poetry have been creeping into the book. It started to feel like it was coming together, gelling in the way I’d hoped. So until maybe a few weeks ago, I felt the book was on the right track and that it was mostly done, just the finer points like spelling, grammar, layout to be worked on and finalised. But the peace didn’t last long. I was aware over the weeks that I felt a little like something was missing from the book, and I didn’t feel it was complete. I can only get to this point if I give my work some time to sit, let it be absorbed and get comfortable with what it truly is, as opposed to what I think it is. In other words – a sense of distance is required, and so I’m always happy to give things some time, to see if they are indeed ready or maybe need some work.
Someone asked me if I were going to put some of my older images from Iceland into the book. I’d be hesitating about doing it, because I feel they represent who I was in 2004, and don’t really have much correlation to how my photography style has moved on. But I reconsidered, decided to have a go at putting them into the book, and found that I was wrong – they worked. So much so, that the book is a sandwich of three parts – the first section starts of with coastal shots that were shot during the night, while the middle section deals with inland areas of iceland shot during the summer months and much warmer light. The last section goes back towards the coast and deals with a more lighter ending feel to the days work. It was conceptual and I didn’t even know it until I’d put the thing together and a friend commented on how it seemed to work more as a piece now.
So the book has been retitled too. I had never really been happy with the title, but since I now have a collection of images, all mostly shot during the nocturnal hours of the day (I’m a low light shooter mostly), and since all were created during pre-dawn, post-dusk, even sometimes around 3am for instance, I feel the images have an otherwordly feel to them. The stories that I’ve written have been put together from the journal that I sometimes write in. So all this kind of wraps up to give me the title of ‘a journal of nocturnes’. Nocturnes is defined as ‘a composition, or piece of music that is inspired by, or evocative of the night’. I feel my images are compositions that are evocative or inspired by the night, so I feel it’s a perfect fit.
I feel the book is much stronger now. So all that needs to be done now, is get the preface written – as I type this, my special guest whom I’ve asked if he will write something as a way of an introduction to Iceland has responded and said yes. So I’m delighted by the news.
I’ll be traveling down to Nottingham this April to put the book together with my friend Darren, and expect to have something finished and ready for release later on in the year.
I hope my posting today has given you some food for thought regarding the creative process. It is always flowing, changing. It is never static and when someone says the work is done, what they really mean is that it has reached a conclusion for the moment.