A4.BoW: Prose final draft

The challenge with multi-faceted works is that they require multiples of work in addition to the work of photography. The time needed then seems to grow exponentially.

I’ve gone through several iterations of the prose to accompany my video and also had another exchange of thoughts with my writer friend, James Wall. The process of recording the narrative also highlighted areas that sounded fine when read inside one’s head but awkward when articulated on a recording – sometimes the combination of word-sounds or rhythms, other times the realisation that the meaning wasn’t coming across. As I worked, there are a few things that seemed increasingly important:

  • Clarity, without over-explanation.
  • Ambiguity, without confusion.
  • Simplicity without emptiness.
  • Overall, something that wouldn’t distract the viewer from the images when watching the video but would also add to the experience.

This has proven to be a difficult thing to attain, and a reminder that we don’t ‘just add another facet to our work’ – it is another work in itself to achieve anything approaching worthwhile.

A locked in flow moves through memories, land and time.
A world connects with a space inside my head, where thoughts wander freely.
Stumbling upon experiences real and imagined.
Layers of histories and hopes, some owned and some borrowed.

Two hundred years of time are trampled
and worn into the paths along this watery route.
The heritage of a grand project and as a dead poet from God’s own country said, ‘a gloomy memorial of place. The fouled nest of the Industrial Revolution that had flown’.

It is a hotchpotch of a space.
There are shipshape gardens and drowned shopping trolleys.
Lovers’ graffiti and the anger of the disillusioned.
Those living the grey dream, afloat 50 footers.
Those subsisting on the margins. 

There are no celebrities on barges,  and no café culture along these banks.
But there are ‘stories and songs that hang in that space between memory and water.’
There are doors that once were, land cut with shovels, relics of industry and bird song.
There are makeshift shelters, and childhood memories encrusted in rusty bicycles.

Whoever shouts the loudest claims a space. The water calmly reflects. 
It’s from Leeds to Liverpool where my mind wanders.
Through worlds within a world. Between presence and memory. 

Andrew Fitzgibbon

Quotes from poets, in order of appearance. Ted Hughes from Stubbing Wharf . Ian McMillan from Canal Life.