Three Versions of Judas, 2, Berriedale, Orkney, March, 1984. (printed 1984). Platinum-palladium print on 100% cellulose (Van Gelder simili japon) from original 18×24 cm negative.
Three Versions of Judas, 1, Berriedale, Orkney, March, 1984. (printed 1984). Platinum-palladium print on 100% cellulose (Van Gelder simili japon) from original 18×24 cm negative.
Borges was an oracular historian. When I read his short story, Three Versions of Judas, my understanding of time (not linear) and perspective (not just visual, and not just from one, two or three points of view) began to drop into another realm. During the same period of making these photographs, the story helped me ‘enter’ the platinum-palladium printing process in a way I had not achieved till then, and to break out of the language of black and white silver gelatin printing. This print, and the two related versions of Judas coming up, brought everything together for me: Zen and Borges, animated objects in front of the lens, images with their own center of gravity, dimensionality in the print that was free of tonal extremes, and recognizing the singular vernacular of platinum/palladium prints.
Medals for the Gladiator, (i), Berriedale, Orkney, 1984. Platinum-palladium print on 100% cellulose paper (Van Gelder simili japon) from original 18x24cm inch negative.
This is the first (left-hand) part of a diptych. I’ll post the right-hand part tomorrow.
These, along with the recently posted and early ‘Campsite for the Non-Citizen’ photographs, anticipated a later group of works by that same name. And all of these arose from a troubling (to me) sense of a kind of civil order that began to bud with the Reagan/Thatcher era. The West’s reaction to 9-11, the rise of fundamentalist and populist/nationalist undertows, and this latest madness with the Trump administration, along with neoliberal interludes merrily danced to by centrist, so-called lefties leaves me feeling more in sync with images like the one above than ever before.
There was a time when I really thought this work was fanciful and mannered. Now, I am left scratching my head and wondering how could I have ever done this, and where did it come from. It speaks the kind of truth that only oracles are privileged with, and only occasionally singes the rest of us. I’m burning.