The Garden Manifesto
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The publication of the book The Garden Manifesto concludes a ten-year study (1998-2008) of my home and life in Exeter, Devon. It is the last of three projects, including Invisible Boundaries and Roadworks. Each project set out to objectively record and describe my living at 9 Sandford Walk, EX1 2ES.

The images record and detail my present absence from this property and are a record of being. The Garden Manifesto ends on July 29 2008 the day I left the property. It is a recording of a determinate space (garden) being recorded indeterminately. Representationally the images are a real time recording of my movement, and a final recording of the space detailing my presence and grace photographically. The images are recording me, the space behind the camera and my transient time photographically using the camera’s function; long hand held exposures and 'automatic' focusing. Quite literally the camera shutter punctuates and marks existence and documents my dynamic position.

The images are tags and to all intents and purposes technical mistakes if considered by the traditional notions of the representational and their resolution is often blurred or out of focus.  Shot between August 2006 and February 2008 on the first Saturday of each month making photographs and being a photographer often allows one to objectify the world to add some distance to its existence and ones existence through the lens of the camera.

On completing the project Invisible Boundaries I realised that I had created a very personal document out of what had initially been an experiment to record the banal as a historical document. ’This is my manifesto and expressiveness' underlined and dated 11(?) May 1998 is quoted from a letter, as are all texts other than poems. A letter received from a partner describing the implosion of our relationship. It is a letter that is on the one hand dipped in self-preserving fury and bloodletting, but on the other represents a concise detailing of how the issues of myself, my childhood and my life long struggle with these issues that have impinged upon my relationships, my images and my life. I re-read this letter at the time of making this work and felt that it was a relevant voice to the final images documenting the continuation of recording and the finding of a voice. Extracts appear here, as does some work in progress poetry.

The use of texts eludes to a portrait outside of the image, a text an alternative point and existence. The text is narrative to the images and alludes to my previous writings made about photography and the experiential. An image creates a resemblance, a record and exists outside of the experience of the time photographed and the emotion at the time recorded. The photograph is mute in terms of the experience of the image-maker; the text is an aside, the voice off.

So I’ve been trying to work out what all this is about and need to let this out. You obviously may not agree, but this is my manifesto and my expressiveness. May 1998


Blank Media Magazine 2010