Long dark winter months, with an absence of the usual diversions.
Trying to keep busy. These have not been easy days for many. A short interlude for Christmas, and then back to very quiet times.
Time to make a book. Always a happy diversion.
This one was created for the Instagram #areyoubookenough challenge on the topic of frozen. The challenge was started in 2017 by the book artist Sarah Maker, and brings together book artists from all around the world.
I have many images of snow and ice, and many happy memories of trips north, so the topic of 'frozen' had instant appeal.
A dive into my hard drive seemed like a good a place to start.
I searched for 'ice' and 'snow'. Up popped many images that were long forgotten.
Images from Iceland, Greenland, Finland, Yukon and Norway. Some of the places that I am missing the most.
Firstly, a small fragment of ice from Disko Bay. Ice that has made its way down a glacier, and then broken into fragments as it fall into the icy water of Disko Bay; an iceberg graveyard.
Crystals of watery ice from a glacier. I love the intense sheen of the ice; as if made of metal.
Broken ice from a grassy puddle. This from Lofoten, where I was attracted by the texture of the snow crushed grass. This is the scruffy end of winter, when the snow is dirty and starts to melt; not something that is often recorded photographically.
Initially I printed out many small images.
I then experimented with different combinations and juxtapositions.
I have chosen tiny fragments of the world together with wide views. It is the juxtaposition of scale that I enjoyed when making this book.
Some images were rejected, as they didn't work with the others, or were just too ambiguous. The one below, of reflections in Disko Bay, Greenland was rejected for not being 'frozen', even though the sea water was icy cold.
For the start of the book I chose images of snow falling at night, and a lump of ice. The raw elements of icy landscapes.
I remember vividly standing under a lampost in Finland capturing snow falling in the early evening, the snow lit by the artificial light; blowing around wildly in the wind.
Then I moved through gradually larger landscapes, trying to find pairings that complemented each other.
Grass and ice.
Black on white, white on black.
A 'landscape' of ice crystals on snow beside a tree in a field.
The images are printed on bamboo paper 110gsm, made into a concertina. The hard cover is covered with a Lotka polka dot paper in black and white. Lotka paper is Nepalese, and is easy to fold around the cover of a book.
You can view the order of images in the book in the slideshow below.
I don't know when spontaneous travel will be possible again. My plans to return northwards in February are very likely to be thwarted.
But as soon as I am able, I will be heading in that direction once more.
In the meantime I will be making this book to order; my glueing skills are coming along in leaps and bounds..........
I was asked to make a movie. About my art practice.
This request came out of the blue, from a film maker Alisdair Kitchen, who was appointed by Rye Arts Festival Digital Fringe.
I did not know of him, but liked what I saw on his website very much; he has worked with opera singers and is himself a musician. His style appealed to me, so I said 'yes'.
We arranged to spend a day together, in my studio and out on location.
My main worry was what to wear. I am clearly vainer than I realised.....
We talked in the studio, and he watched me sewing a book. The notice board and windowsill featured highly; Alisdair liked the wind blowing papers around. I admired his setup, and realised that I would probably never make a video again.....
Then we were off to Rye Harbour.
A visual desert for my type of photography. Old buildings and boats. Way out of my normal comfort zone.
I walked, he followed. I wondered why I had forgotten a belt to hold my trousers up.
I felt acutely self conscious.
I saw a seagull on a chimney.
Some cracked mud.
I pretended to take photos.
But mostly I saw Alisdair, and felt so self conscious that I snapped wildy at anything that I passed. This was for show; except that it was not.
Alisdair decided that photos I took were to end up in the film. I was not keen on this idea; I don't make images when being followed closely by a cameraman. I like to be alone, quiet, getting into a rhythm by walking and thinking.
The harder I tried, the worse it felt. Alisdair was happy because he was outside, and the wind was blowing my hair.... seems he likes wind.
But I should not have worried.
Because Alisdair is a pro. The film that he made is gentle and beautiful.
Out of all the nonsense that I talked, he picked out the key elements of my story, and put them together in a way that I feel is completely true to my practice.
You can watch it here......
Caroline Fraser - an ordinary life
on life, suburban living, art, creativity, photography, book art and travel.
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Welcome to Caroline Fraser Photography
Colourful abstracted and traditional photographic landscapes, book art and workshops. Capturing the moods and beauty of nature whether in wild open places or in small sanctuaries in suburbia.