I was disappointed at first. The pictures came out slightly off-focus – the window frames were pin-sharp and I’d forgotten to move the camera to the right slightly. I’d not done what I’d aimed for: to somehow make it look like I was being transported from the back room to outside whilst actually remaining outside.
The magic of film always happens in the post-production. In my method, that’s actually something that’s neither analogue nor digital – it’s both. If you find any magic here, then I’m happy. If you don’t… well I’m still happy because these photos are principally for me. They’re almost a kind of therapy – a release of sorts. I’ve never been fully comfortable with myself – I don’t know many people who are – and I realised that I was actually trying to make myself disappear or become someone else.
At times in these photographs, I see myself as heteronyms or other characters searching for an author – Pessoan or Pirandellian.
I see myself as Fernando in this one (without the glasses):
almost as if the hat mirrors the cover of Los ultimos dias de Fernando Pessoa by Tabucchi (when his heteronyms all come to pay their respects).
And here I am again – without the pearl earring – but so glassy eyed I could almost be in a Vermeer.
What’s left is a pale residue of myself. Attempts at movement, show the act but not the actual disappearance (except for the perfectly executed two shots where I accidentally pressed the shutter) and they almost work:
The hat trick almost works too; and I appear – as well I might – suddenly vulnerable, quizzical; my ear attached in the wrong place; as if I’m putting on my glasses and asking myself who is taking this photograph of me.
The poem below attempts to pull everything together: the night’s disdain at my efforts, wrapping its darkness around me; the light a double gloom (or is it a double glee/gleam?), making sure that my heteronyms and I have got nowhere to hide.
In the darkness, it’s become quite clear
that I’ve been trying to disappear:
to become someone else all these years
to distance myself from myself, from you,
Fictionalising the pale residue
Moulding this person into something new.
The night, dressed up to the eights, wraps my qualms
around me: I spy the improbable,
impossible: to exit the back room
whilst being already stood here outside.
I fail to get away: a luckless charm:
reappearing: a vulnerable unsuitable
boy/man, unfocused in the double gloom
Not quite able to find a place to hide