Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Ken Burridge

Before the Camera.

They have said it before while looking through the lens; Avedon and Karsch.

It’s in the light, to capture the heart of the subject.

Know the person and the truth. Reflect opinion, frame the soul.

Let the photograph speak both ways: for the subject and his artist.

‘I’m Ken. Come in.’ Unpretentious appearance, bare feet, shirtless, baggy shorts,

Aging, drawing deeply on a cigarette.

Surrounded by the past with artefacts arranged like a young man’s hair.

Telling Ken’s story. Cues and clues to landscapes eroded by time.

Wearing it all like well worn slippers.

What can I gather through this window? Let the light reveal

The tangerine and magenta glow of pre-dawn flows close behind.

Revealing detail in the deep blue shadow of the evening.

A God of some sort uncovered. Religion deeply imbedded with family and culture

Then ravaged by pompous bigotry. Spoilt like milk in the Sun.

His language says it all. Cursing the cursed. Scowling at the Bishops and Popes

Hypocrites, one and all. Less said; more meant.

‘I’m Gay, you know. It’s in my work’

As if preparing me for something or testing me.

The path for lack of deference clearly marked.

Can I see that far? Or want to? My camera is insensitive to that.

No setting for gender preference. Just ISO and white balance.

But his art isn’t! I’m yet to see.

Now I see. A gentle approach with affection I cannot understand but can perceive.

It’s in the subjects and the diligence of care for their humanness.

Remnants of the Old World. Youthful figures doing their dues

While the artist watches and places the lines where he cares.

Strength in single colour, black line, defined by the space they fill.

Understanding what the artist wants me to see. Then seeing more of him.

We move through distance and occasion

When teaching was the thing that guided and gilded.

‘A good life’ he shares, with some excess in waste and want.

Now gentler with his approach, watched by cancer’s gaze

Sharing between a lover’s heart and the practitioner’s part.

Gaining strength from friends who know and understand.

The art is just that: art and nothing more. A way of doing.

Not seeing beneath the surface but see the façade

On which a life well lived is drawn.

Procrastinate on superficial insight.

Leave behind the dimensions created from the assembly of thought and action.

The sculptures eye has more than one dimension.

He knows what stands behind the brilliance of the Moon.

Drawing heavily once more on another cigarette.


One photograph complete which tells the story

Of a moment that took a lifetime to prepare.

Thanks Ken.

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