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WRECKED, NOT RUINED

Updated: Sep 9, 2021

MY FIRST ON-SITE PROJECT ATTEMPT OF 2021 … SUCKED

OLD MILL CREEK, DARTMOUTH (DEVON)

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If you remember last September, I took a walk to Old Mill Creek with my friend (a really cool maritime archaeologist) who was working down there on all the remains of old boats. I fell in love with the area and decided to do a project based on this gorgeous location. (more about that here)


I’ve been wanting to go back ever since, it’s so peaceful down there, and so beautiful, but every plan made so far fell through. Well I got the chance to go back again last Friday! My friend needed to finish up some things for work & needed someone in a sort of volunteer-capacity, to lend a hand and keep an eye on the dog.


I’ve been wanting to do on-site cyanotypes for months now, so with the weather improved, I went for it! I made up a new batch of cyanotype sensitizer (possibly part of the problem) and coated 8 A4 sheets and 10 A5 sheets of paper.


I’d been watching a few videos on wet cyanotypes recently and it seemed to be “just put wet things on it” so I thought it’d be pretty easy to do by the river, with some seaweed. I have developed a mild obsession with seaweed lately. I did not however expect to be grabbing handfuls of it to haul off an old wreck – but even that was surprisingly fun and cathartic.


So, I made a few cyanotypes and well, I fucked up.

BUT THAT’S OKAY.


They are all completely under exposed, which I explain in the video below so I won’t go into it too much, but hindsight is a beautiful thing eh? So I wrecked the experiments; but they were exactly that – EXPERIMENTS – this year is still absolutely about learning for me, trying, playing, failing, and adapting.


I had an absolutely lovely day, snuck in a spot of journaling, project planning, and took some photos that I can use later.

I had a good laugh, some serious puppy cuddles and got my dose of fresh air and sunshine. I caught most of the day on a very low-res time-lapse.



 

Bellow are some videos I made the next day – I wanted to shoot some chat on the day, but time went so quickly, and I was a little camera shy in front of my friend.


(SWEARING WARNING FOR LITTLE EARS)





 

PREVIOUS ON-SITE CYANOTYPE SESSIONS

 

BATU BOLONG BEACH, BALI – AUGUST 2018

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This sounds far more glorious than the works themselves.

Hilariously, less hot (4 whole degrees) than the Surrey walk & make a year later, and I made the mistake of attempting to wash these in the sea to develop them on-site – the sea was so rough and choppy that I just got soaked, and the paper suffered at the sea’s strength.


I thought there’d be more things to pick up and use to make shadows, but the beach cleaners had done such a good job!! Similar story with the gardener at the villa – I kept trying to collect up any fallen flowers and leaves (because I wasn’t going to be a dick and pick them) but he was always so on it with his broom! I still have a few of the flowers I picked up off the driveway, drunk at 3am, and pressed in the pages of books there.

— also for the larger of these, I disappeared off to the group of Aussie girls in front to do some first aid on a cut, so I abandoned this piece for quite a while out in the sun, and ended up processing it back at the villa.


This isn’t the kind of work I’d normally show, because I’m not very impressed with the results, but it’s all part of the journey isn’t it!?




BUSHY PARK, SURREY – AUGUST 2019

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I actually did try this a couple of times back up in Surrey, and they all wrecked too…!? maybe I need to double up my light proof bags or, if possible, complete a test strip to find the optimum exposure time.

It was a wonderfully blazing hot day in the Royal Park, quiet and bright, armed with factor 50 & podcasts, I set off for a long old walk (remember life before covid!?) making cyanotypes along the way and stopping for a serious sugar rush somewhere in the middle.

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ONWARDS AND UPWARDS!

I’m already plotting my next walking adventure – and fantasising about the scope of things that could come out of something so simple as a walk.


I’d love to make a series of small art-books as a response to specific walks, perhaps start producing a Zine, or making more creative videos… with the weather picking up, the excitement is real.

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