lipstick traces

     Lipstick Traces is a group of photographs concerning change through time, evidenced in the visible present traces of various past actions. The title comes from the phrase 'a cigarette that bears a lipstick's traces', a line in the song 'These Foolish Things', an example in song lyrics of the kind of causal effect inherent in the project. 'Lipstick Traces (On A Cigaret)' a song by The O'Jays serves equally well for illustrative purposes.


     Initially I began snapping 'trace things' that caught my eye, as a speedy method of private notation, with no intention of it becoming anything more.The cache of images built up so quickly that it more or less transformed itself into a project. A 'trace' can take many forms; an imprint, an incision, a wearing away, a track, a trail, a drawing on, or marking of, the earth, the after effects of violent action, also a ghost, echo or remnant of something now absent. Quite quickly, in addition to noticing physical traces on objects, I started to see reflection as a form of fleeting, temporary, trace. This realisation enabled me to add various effects of light into the undertaking and, in so doing, to supply its second main strand.


     After a while there were enough images built up for it start to become possible to loosely group them into discrete categories. Most of them can now be seen either in their sequence of being taken or as part of a related set; sub-sets within the whole.


     The material comes from wherever I happen to be at any time; things glimpsed in passing, rather than chosen beforehand. images grabbed while wandering about, mostly on foot, (I don't drive) but also sometimes on buses or trains. The pictures are mostly not spectacular, their 'ordinary-ness 'makes many, but by no means all, of them less immediately attention grabbing. To me, they often possess a quiet magic or mystery, are absorbing and intriguing; sometimes fascinating, sometimes wistful. They are, anyway, the the result of looking outwards and paying attention to what is actually there.


     The images are all taken with my pocket sized Fuji Finepix camera which is deliberately permanently set to auto. I have no pretensions to being a skilled 'proper' photographer and this setting simplifies and speeds up the taking of the pictures. It also allow the camera itself to become a player, through inadvertent blurring effects and such-like things, in the making of the images


     The images are transferred to the computer where they are processed, by digital adjustment and compositional cropping, to a standard size, then added to the collection. There is an aesthetic and abstract formality that comes into play at this point.


     Some of the images from some of the category groups are shown here - 'posters, mostly torn', 'reflected light', 'graffiti tags', 'ghost signs on buildings', oblique self-portraits', 'interior light', 'lost pets', 'worn/faded' and 'snow tracks'