Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Summer's End

Yesterday upon the stair
I met a man who wasn't there.
He wasn't there again today
Oh how I wish he'd go away.
Hughes Mearns

Alternity began in a small terraced house in the suburbs.

To my young mind it was a nightmarish place with strange people gliding in and out of my reality.
The frustrating thing was that I could never figure out exactly what they wanted.

Before I was old enough to form a sentence, I would point at times to an empty corner of the room and whisper, "Frighten lady... Frighten lady". Not that I remember her of course, but I do remember others.

We all saw them. My whole family. Even my grandmother, who lived next door, woke at five o'clock one summer morning to watch a woman with a large crinoline dress gliding down our garden path. She was not one to believe in nonsense.

My pictures are a way of trying to express these odd events that always seem to begin with a sense of displacement, a humming in the ears and the ominous feeling that something is about to happen. These experiences are my source of inspiration.

It was only when I began to merge a couple of my own photos together to form 'Summer's End' that I realised it perfectly represented two of my experiences in that house.

There was a night when my brother and I suddenly found ourselves wide awake and staring at a glowing white, round translucent shape, hanging vertically between our beds. "Martin," I whispered, "can you see that?" "Yes," he replied, "what are we going to do?"

Now at the age of nine, I was quite wicked to my younger brother. And to satisfy my own morbid sense of curiosity, I managed to totally convince him that he should try and step through it... to see what would happen. Watching him tentatively put his foot, and then his whole self through this thing was like something that Dreamworks could have cooked up. But it wasn't a movie and we didn't imagine it. Thankfully nothing adverse happened but we legged it down the stairs to our parents as fast as we could.

The other vision that still haunts me is from a repetitive nightmare of a woman sweeping through the frosted glass of our bedroom door, hovering in front of me and throwing out her hands to gesticulate something very, very important. I could see her expression, I could watch her mouth, but there was no sound. Just this awful sense of urgency and I could not figure out what the f**k she was trying to tell me. This went on for months.

I believe there is a very thin partition between the places we know and those that we can't always see. But every now and then there is a sharing of the same space. This is Alternity.

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