When I became ill a few years ago my life suddenly became very small and time slowed down. The movement of light throughout the house began to mark time for me. The constantly changing shapes of the highlights and shadows separated one hour from another. After months of looking at the same rooms I began to notice light transforming the ordinary, dull, mundane objects and spaces of my life…a shaft of light falling on a bookcase, the shapes formed by the wrinkles in my bedclothes, the shadow of a plant on my window ledge. These moments didn’t last nor were they ever the same two days in a row. They moved and changed with the light and seasons, adding variety and interest to my days. Photography gave me a way to record these precious fleeting moments and award them the importance they have had in my life. My photography is about ordinary everyday objects transformed by light into objects of extraordinary beauty.
The title of the series is inspired by a childhood poem called “The Land of Counterpane” by Robert Louis Stevenson, about a little boy who is sick in bed imagining the dips and folds of his quilt are a land for his toy soldiers. It has stuck with me as a story of imagination distracting and overcoming the isolation, boredom and pain of illness.
By Robert Louis Stevenson
When I was sick and lay a-bed,
I had two pillows at my head,
And all my toys beside me lay,
To keep me happy all the day.
And sometimes for an hour or so
I watched my leaden soldiers go,
With different uniforms and drills,
Among the bed-clothes, through the hills;
And sometimes sent my ships in fleets
All up and down among the sheets;
Or brought my trees and houses out,
And planted cities all about.
I was the giant great and still
That sits upon the pillow-hill,
And sees before him, dale and plain,
The pleasant land of counterpane.
6 Perspectives on Light continues in The Greenroom Gallery, Cork Arts Theatre, Camden Court, Carroll's Quay, Cork until 2nd July 2009.
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