CAN 2 Exercise 2.2

Choose a poem that resonates with you then interpret it through photographs. Don’t attempt to describe the poem but instead give a sense of the feeling of the poem and the essence it exudes.

A New Way

Wishing you were a different man I catch the locust of your personality weeping in a darkening cloud burning country waiting to be burned linking your destiny of the earth.
Paracleptically intending briskly strolling winged clicking with tendrils of antennae determining your exact path of intuition and retribution to those in the way of being different.
The yellow line the traffic warden sees is a brick road to the rat at night.
Imagine you were caught in a coughing place placating the sad desires of the way you really want to be, and the difference is that rage is a comely friend and peace gives nothing to self esteem.
What if you were treading a terrible place that had no wealth, or if your clouds were poison when you thought that beauty was a cold thing that could bring you into placedom, market day, friendly with a tetchy touch or column placing exercise, a Classical kind of putting you where you belong.

Ed Jones, c.1992


I found this exercise interesting because it made me aware of how deeply the idea of photography as representation is embedded in my mentality. It was quite a struggle not to pick out words or phrases from the poem and attempt to illustrate them literally. I got around this by reading the poem through several times, putting it aside, and then jotting down a list of words that popped into my mind. I then looked through these words and found several themes, which I made into the focus of my interpretation. I decided to use my personal photo archive as source material instead of making new images, because this allowed me to direct my attention towards interpreting and curating, which I felt was what I needed to investigate with this project.

While I am very aware that my images don’t do justice to the poem, and at best only scratch the surface of the existential themes it deals with, I am reasonably satisfied that they capture some of its bleakness without being too goth. I feel the images reflect the poem’s concern with structure and organisation and its theme of polarities, even though these are not words I wrote down. I conclude from this that while the word-jotting exercise gave me an overall direction for my response, it didn’t prevent me from bringing in ideas that I had not consciously noted.

I originally included five images in my response, but rejected the fifth (pictured right) after I saw them together on the page and decided that this one was too much like a literal depiction of a man taking stock of who and what he is, feeling constrained and alienated by the structures that surround and define him.