‘Subjects, Objects, Verbs’ stepping out…

Subjects, Objects, Verbs is a ‘photo-logographic portrait project’.  Like a waltz, it’s in triple time (well, sort of…)

1) The invited subjects of the project are asked to select up to three objects.

The objects can be anything; a shoe, a trinket, a book, a coin, a key, a toy, an instrument, a ring, a ball, a clock, a bag, a tool, a piece of equipment, a stone, a map. It is something tangible selected by the subject which connects them to an important time, or event, or place, or person in their life. A connection which they feel is important to you because that time, those events, that person, or that place was formative. It can be to do with work or it can be something more personal, but it should be something which represents a connection which is not arbitrary, but to something, someone, or sometime which really mattered to them.

When subjects have made their selection, we arrange to meet, and record a conversation about their choices, what the objects mean to them, and how they connect to each person’s memories and to their past.

I then borrow the objects, and photograph them.

2)  Later on we arrange to meet again to return the objects, and for a portrait shoot of each person.  Some of these images later become elements for photomontage.

3) The final strand of the project is are a collection of poems developed from our conversations about the objects and the thoughts and memories associated with them.

All the elements – Portrait images, object images, montages, and poetry will be eventually assembled in a large-format book: Subjects, Objects, Verbs.  Should there be any proceeds, these will go to  The National Autistic Society.

Of course the timing gets more complicated as these 1-2-3 steps start to interfere for different subjects.   ‘Like a waltz’, but where the timing is an overlapping round and syncopated!   I think if I try to have too many ‘current’ at the same time, I may trip over my own feet  – if my head doesn’t simply explode!

Over the past couple of weeks, Subjects, Objects, Verbs has gradually begun to get under way.  So far I’ve met two subjects, recorded fascinating conversations with them, and begun photographing some of their objects.  I’ve been impressed by how seriously my subjects have taken the premise of the project, and I’ve begun to really understand that that what I’ve set out to do will be a substantial undertaking.  I expected Subjects, Objects, Verbs would take at least a couple of years in all, and getting started has in no way reduced that estimate!

I confess to being a little daunted, but hopefully I’m learning as I go!

About stevedsmart

Steve Smart is a poet and visual artist who also has experience in information design. View all posts by stevedsmart

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