julian thomas


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images waiting for a metaphor...

Most people think that working on a project is a linear process, you decide what you want to do and then... just do it.

It’s not like that, at least not for me. Working on a project is spending days wandering around with a camera and then searching through work prints for patterns and themes, trying to understand exactly what is going on in your subconscious, what made you shoot that subject, in that particular way. Then going back out with thoughts tickling at the back of your mind only to discover that you are really doing something else.

When I was working on these images, I noticed that something had changed in my work. I was being drawn to old subjects in new ways and new subjects in ways that I found disturbing. Upthrusting towers, cactuses looking like missile sylos, wispy plants blown by the wind, gently swelling waves, kites floating on the wind.

The years since those chads fell the wrong way have been very strange in Spain. At first there was a great sense of coming together. Millions marching on the streets every weekend. At 22:00 every evening, whole neighborhoods in Barcelona stopped what they were doing to bang drums, pots, anything they could get their hands on, to show solidarity with people in another country that they had never even met. A totally selfless concern. 96% of the country all thinking the same thing.

The eventual failure of this left many with a deep feeling of impotence. I lost interest in conversations, reading newspapers, in dialogue of any sort.

Looking through the images in this series i can now see my state of mind more clearly. A preoccupation with symbols of power, or desolation. A sense of helplessness combined with a longing for something, anything, ‘else’.

These images aren’t metaphors. I couldn’t point to any and say ‘this means...’. But I can say, ‘if those chads had fallen differently, I doubt if I’d have made these images’.




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