One of my driving interests right now is Old English history. When you study a language, learning about the culture that speaks/spoke that language is extraordinarily helpful, if not necessary. Not a problem for me! I began teaching myself Anglo-Saxon (Old English language) earlier this year in hopes of eventually being able to engage with the literature of that period more directly. I love the old history of England, especially since so much of it is yet unknown and left to speculation, or imagination, until more is revealed through research and archeology.
Much as J.R.R. Tolkien used his scholarship to influence and inspire his creativity, I too am seeking to let my studies galvanize what I hope to create. It’s not so easy, yet. Translating literary inspirations into visual expressions can be difficult. I don’t want to merely illustrate a concept or story, be it unique or from an ancient text I’ve read. I want the photographs I craft to be meaningful on their own, and all the more meaningful for what supports them.
Thus far, I have not settled on the best way to do this. Do I create one complete story and try to capture the ideas within them? Do I write a series of short stories and do the same, each photograph representing a short story? Do I focus on the ideas and symbols important to both ancient culture as well as people today and photograph something representing those? Or is there yet another way?
No easy answers. And I think the work will be all the stronger for having spent time making these decisions. Either way, the first step, as near as I can figure, is to focus on the research; immerse myself in the study and understanding of this past culture that has captured my attention; make it so much a part of my thoughts that the creativity that comes forth is necessarily flavored by my subject of interest. As time goes on, I hope to create a series of vignettes that will shape and elucidate the larger concept. Hopefully, what I end up with when I look back from the distant future, will be something…epic. I hope this project will take me to many places (especially England and surrounding lands), will span many years, and will linger with people for many ages.
Grandiose? Yep. Doable? Well…I’ll let you know when it’s over.
Thanks for reading. Feel free to leave any comments, any time.