December 9: Even the most conscientious of bloggers must have a day off, I think. It’s midnight and I haven’t posted. I feel a compulsion to write something for yesterday and all sorts of photographers coincide in some way with this date; Karl Blossfeldt being one. I could write about his dedication to his students of metalwork leading to international recognition. Carlos Canal was born this day too, a doctor who has worked with leukemia patients for half a life and who now works with photography as therapy, and who raises connections with Jo Spence.
Franco Fontana, also born today (1933), who, like Blossfeldt produces ‘frammenti’. Since the 1970s he has produced acute examples of the fragmentising, abstracting power of the photographic viewfinder and darkroom easel.
But no. The day has passed. It was a day off, full of things other than blogging, in preparation for a dinner table full of writers, all women, all far more worthy.
I give you too A Day Off, Tony Ray-Jones, who set out to portray the British at leisure. He’d done the hard yards with Alexy Brodovitch in New York and come back to Britain to sort out Bill Jay at Creative Camera, and through that magazine demonstrated to British photography was it could be about before British society had become “completely americanised”.
I no longer have my treasured copy of Ray-Jones 1977 book, but I am sure I remember every photograph in it. One stands out.
Nothing needs be said about it, nothing needs explaining since it’s all there; an anxious expression, man on a folded deckchair, the hands on hips and down-curled lips, a young, impassive bobby, a tiny child curled up asleep. One only needs imagine the reunion of lost or strayed child and parent, wrath of the father, the tears, the presence of an arm of the law, however, ineffectual, moderating the encounter.
It’s how I imagine the response of the audience of this blog post upon finding there was no December 9th post!
Good night, dear friend!