If poetry is all around us, then the odds are we stumble across it every day. It can be found everywhere from on gravestones to graffiti, and we can either laugh at it, cry at it, or simply wander away from it a little perplexed. But when we capture it on film, we set in place a most curious process.
Poetry is the “spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings […] recollected in tranquillity”, and what is photography if not just that? A photograph can call to mind past emotions at any time, and so the photo functions as a poem itself.
Wordsworth was clearly calling to mind a powerful impression left upon him by the River Thames when he wrote the following lines:
“Glide gently, thus for ever glide,
O Thames! that other bards may see
As lovely visions by thy side
As now, fair river! come to me.
O glide, fair stream! for ever so,
Thy quiet soul on all bestowing,
Till all our minds for ever flow
As thy deep waters now are flowing”
And nearly 210 years later, I captured those very lines on my camera:
Now, when I look on these photos, I call to mind not only Wordsworth’s initial overflow of emotion recollected in tranquillity, but I can recollect in tranquillity my own spontaneous encounter with the poem. A photo of a written poem, therefore, necessarily contains many layers of spontaneity and tranquillity which mingle and inform each other. How do these photos change the poem for you?
And when it comes to spontaneity on film, no one does it better than Lomography. More than just an analogue camera company, Lomography describe themselves as “an international socio-cultural movement using photography as a creative approach to communicating, absorb and capturing the world.” Here on Global Poetry System we’ve been wowed by some of the fantastic photos uploaded from Lomography users. And when you check out the Lomography “10 golden rules”, it’s easy to see why Lomography is so well suited for poetry hunting:
- Take your camera everywhere you go
- Use it any time – day and night
- Lomography is not an interference in your life, but part of it
- Try the shot from the hip
- Approach the objects of your lomographic desire as close as possible
- Don’t think (william firebrace)
- Be fast
- You don’t have to know beforehand what you captured on film
- Afterwards either
- Don’t worry about any rules
And in celebration of some of the wonderful Lomography photos we’ve received, this week’s featured poems on GPS were all taken on Lomography cameras. You can check them out here.
So, even if you don’t have a Lomography camera yourself, try living by some of their “golden rules”. And remember, photos don’t have to add layers of meaning to inherently poetic text; they can actually create poetry in text where there was none before. So get creative and get snapping, see what you can find, and share it on the Global Poetry System.
Global Poetry System is a user generated world map of poetry found at www.southbankcentre.co.uk/gps
Filed under: Global Poetry System | Tagged: Camera, Caution, Holga, Lomography, Photography, Poetry, Step | Leave a Comment »