[ 00:20 thursday 9 february – shipton street, london ]
several friends have asked why i stopped publishing photos on the web. i uploaded my first collection in 1997, a hundred or so pictures from my travels in finland with kirmo. this was a real labour of love. starting with photographic prints i scanned each image then built a web page around it including relevant details. i linked these pages together around different stages of the journey and put in a map of finland as the top-level navigation.
at the time i was doing this i’d just started working with the web agency online magic. each evening i would come home and spend a couple of hours working on the site. it was like my devotion, a thread connecting me to the beauty and purity of those days with kirmo. it somehow made it easier to tolerate the soul-destroying hours of stupidity and politicking in the office. it took three months to finish that site. after all these years i don’t think i even have a copy of it now.
in the summer of 1999, when i was living on st agnes, my friend vajra bought a digital camera for me in new york. another friend, simon, brought it to london where i collected it from his sister caroline. traveling back from caroline’s flat i managed to leave the camera on the tube. i thought that was the last i’d see of it, but several weeks later i had a call from london transport to report that it had been handed in. amazed, i picked it up and found it packed with snaps of surfing exploits featuring the australian tourists who’d found it.
starting in december 1999 i published a collection of pictures every month or so, documenting my experiences in the isles of scilly, london, ghana and italy. it was still labour-intensive, with every web page having to be built by hand, but i streamlined the process as much as possible and using the digital camera saved a lot of time. having started the wanderer despatches in february 1999 the photos seemed like a natural accompaniment. at this time i was also doing a lot of sound recording on a minidisc recorder and religiously keeping my personal diary. what’s more i was taking most photos twice: once with the digital camera (for uploading) and once on slide film (for posterity). all told, my documenting habits were becoming a tiny bit obsessive.
in the end this is why i stopped. at some point i realised that documenting my experiences had become more important to me than the direct experiences themselves. i was living through the lens, the keyboard and the microphone; a vicarious observer of my own life. i knew it had got out of balance and it was time to change. i published my final package of photos from the island of pantelleria in september 2001 before returning to stromboli to find a house for the winter.
i haven’t published any photos on the web since then, more than four years ago. there’s been no slackening in my love of photography or the rate at which i chug through film. but going back to the analog technology and ceasing trying to publish sets of images in real time has brought it back in balance.
now i’d like to start sharing my pictures again, but in a different way. just pictures scanned from my slides. meanwhile web-based technologies have come on a long way so now i can upload a bunch of pictures without having to hand-build a website.
so without further ado, here are thirty-three pictures from brazil.
: c :