Gregory Fawkes

Final Crit

12-9-19


This series of photographs is the beginning of my understanding of a regionalistic photographic/expressive ritual that I have been developing this fall, but have been thinking about for over a year. I was born in the end of September and maybe that is partially why the New England early morning November sun light is such an intense experience for me. I have been conscious of the feeling I get in this light for several years, but last year it was intense. I remember crying and feeling safe even when in unsafe situations, when embraced by this light. The feeling is overwhelming and only understood when being fully submerged in the climate. The feeling is playful and meets me as I dream of being a 1950s Twilight Zone spaceman fighting off aliens. The feeling follows me as I awake and drink morning coffee in bed. The feeling then begins to leave and it becomes time to get ready for the ordinary world.

This photographic ritual is not meant to be strictly followed and there is no defining law. The only thing that is specific about the practice is the environment. As the city (or town or the village or the desert) begins to wake, the opportunity to experience the light sleeps. The act of staying connected to the bed sheets that a person has just rested in, by means of wearing them, is a realization of the environment and its ability to be worn. I have practiced this experience with people individually and in a group before. Usually as the photographer I place myself under similar conditions by wearing just my underwear and also being barefoot. I think that the willingness for someone to wake up so early and exercise this practice with me, that I don’t even fully understand, is a performance of trust. The bedsheet feels like a performance of intimacy.

Meeting with Daniel Peltz and Jung Joon Lee has helped me to further understand my own artistic intentions and to gain a base of knowledge about this type of practice. I am particularly interested in the book Mapping/Sitting from the Arab Image Foundation. Several collections from this book feature a photograph that is practiced in a similar environment (like someone swimming in the same space at a beach) repeatedly with a new subject each time.

Lastly, something important I realized when meeting with Professor Lee was that this entire practice revolves around just a few weeks of the year and it is constantly fleeting. I am interested in exploring my connection to November light, during every other month of the year.