May 28: Back in 2016 I started this blog after recovering from serious illness and being forced into unexpected retirement.
I envisaged for this blog a series of posts that would open up world photography to those who share my passion for the medium and increase my contact with such people, to broaden my own horizons. Indeed, in the process I was rewarded with some interest from like-minded individuals, a little positive feedback and the knowledge that many were viewing these pages and revisiting them…such is the nature of blogs.
Strangely, despite being a blog published every day, each post only garnered a handful of views on the day it was uploaded. So much for being ‘of the moment’; clearly I wasn’t meeting a demand, or not reaching the right audience.
Nevertheless, the principle of writing about something in photography linked to the day’s date was an excellent stimulus and discipline for writing. Consequently, I’m pleased to have achieved the tally of some 430+ posts each of some 1000-2000+ words, at least 500,000 words in total, or around the same as Tolstoy’s War and Peace, or Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables, and approaching the length of Xavier Herbert’s Poor Fellow My Country, though I cannot pretend to producing writing that is the quality of any of those!
Recently, seeking a challenge of a more physical kind and a true change of pace, I ventured out on a week’s walking trip of 200km camping by back-roads and tracks and in forests across Victoria, out of the Central Highlands and onto the flat plains and salt lakes to the foothills of the Otways.
I took no photographs, but I vividly recall what I saw. All would have made merely ‘scenic’ pictures if I’d used a camera right then and there, but in memory, with the addition of the full sensation of being in those places, my impressions are indelible, an inspiration to return to make an attempt to render them photographically.
Early in my absence, on May 18, an old October post, for unknown reasons, attracted my ‘highest ever’ number of readers. It was titled Vision and was about a photographs in a newspaper report of a religious apparition witnessed by thousands, in the middle of nowhere in Portugal, who had come to see it at the urging of peasant child shepherds. The photographs at first glance record nothing, so to the prosaically-minded, it may be dismissed as a prominent instance of mass-hysteria. On the other hand, what they do reveal is overwhelming evidence of a leap of faith.
Realism and faith, as embodied in those photographs, are relevant here. My journey gave me plenty of time to think about things, amongst them being this blog which occupies several hours of my day in researching and writing.
Consequently I have decided to give it a rest for a bit, attend to my family, house and garden and to reassess my persona as a ‘retired academic’, to reinvent myself, to eschew any sense of having to live up to the expectations of the academia of which I am no longer a part, a world that has moved on to become corporatised, mercenary even, and much less interested in learning for its own sake.
In the meantime, OnThisDateInPhotography will remain as a useful resource, I hope, and will inform my ongoing contributions to Wikipedia, and you can find more of my thoughts on the medium over at Camera/Eye.
I continue to feel passionately about the medium of photography, to enjoy writing about it, and to get a thrill from my readings of others’ blogs, none necessarily mainstream but all of which, in the following selection, satisfy my particular curiosities and fascinations, like Dr Marcus Bunyan‘s photo exhibition reviews in Art Blart; Alison Stieven-Taylor‘s informative and newsy Photojournalism Now; Running Past in which ‘Paul B.’ investigates, in extraordinary depth and often through photographs, the histories of the parts of London past which he jogs; Katherine Anne Griffiths‘ fun-filled Photobooth Journal in which the phenomenon of an immobile, automatic camera, a kind of camera-trap for people, is shown to reveal so much; Forgotten Ancestors whose owner exercises quite brilliant research skills to bring to light the meanings and histories of found photographs; old friend Greg Neville‘s occasional insights (he’s busy teaching, with little time for writing) are eclectic but always generously enlightening; Nihilsentimentalgia, photography lecturer Dr. Sofia Silva’s web-based platform about contemporary photography and visual discourses originally created for her students, and now, as it celebrates its 10th year, a cornucopia for all photo-lovers; photo educators Jon Nicholls’ and Chris Francis’ bounteous, richly stimulating Photopedagogy blog for other photography teachers and their students; Martina Kormaz‘s the depth of now, in which sensuous photography is the illustration of an honest autobiographic commentary; while the anonymous owner of Mírame y se color regularly presents constantly surprising and varied reminders that I still know so little about photography and those who make it.
There are many others to keep you reading until you find me back here again, in a while…