Visual Diary

This simple diary project attempts to give meaningful exposure to the mundane and the miraculous found in everyday situations. It was originally a project I embarked on for an entire year from January 1st to December 31st but it's grown since then and I haven't been able to stop myself.

Throughout that entire year I sifted through endless batches of the days images, retaining an average 8 images a day ranging from found still life, to observational documentary, reflections on the surreal, heightened realism, to landscape, to studio still life, to pulling stupid faces in the mirror. Sometimes I'd simply create a shot or series of images on a self-given theme if nothing from my existing surroundings presented itself during the day. Or if repetition reared its ugly head, or if I found myself spending all day in front of my Applemac on "proper" work.

Sometimes I'd engineer the possibility of being somewhere interesting that I may have clocked in the previous week. Occasionally I even managed to awaken that sleeping illustrator or designer that lives inside me, dormant for most of the year but reluctantly summoned up like some geriatric genie to suit some creative whim I had. At other times, it's what was under the bed, what the kids had left on the floor, or what was scribbled on someone’s wall down my street. Sometimes I'd even revisit old friends and re-work existing images much like a painter might re- visit a canvas after long absences in the hope of finally finishing it once-and-for- all.

I began to enjoy the realisation that my subjects did not belong to anyone elses aesthetic heirarchy. They presented themselves as surprises, small miracles, traces, ideas yet to form, moments of colour or position or light, abstracts, barely significant seconds which still offered an atom of affirmation, a spark in the soul, evidence of life being lived, the simple stuff that surrounds us all. The Vernacular of course, but also a meeting between the inner and outer worlds, and the opportunity to take a simple idea and really play with it.

It's part personal archive, part visual diary, part endurance test. A relentless ritual which always had to be faced. Every day the pressure of coming face to face with that blank piece of paper simply had to be beaten, either by creating something personally meaningful from nothing, or by digging out something personally meaningful from something already existing. Some of my images for this diary are a personal tribute to the medium itself, with photographs directly or indirectly inspired by other photographers whose images have inspired me - Gabriel Orozco, Les Krims, Angus McBean, Joan Fontcuberta, and a thousand others.

I suppose many of these images reflect a broad range of my own photographic interests and genres since I love crossing over, under and between all of them. I've never worn just one hat. Photography is just too fascinating a medium for me to stick rigidly in one camp. It was a major theme of mine in my last book "Creative Vision" where I argued for a more playful and experimental approach to contemporary photography rather than the more po-faced seriousness of the current gallery-obsessed practitioners. The hardest part of this daft project was maintaining an honest balance between "keeping it real" in an everyday, diary sense, and recognising that if you stay true to that course, theres only so many pictures of the dog, the kids, the tv screen, the shopping, the workspace, the driving and parking, the washing up and all the usual stuff of life which actually take up most of our waking hours. In the end, you just have to invent, or rather BE INVENTIVE, by creating something of substance which didn't exist before, because in the end (& given the choice) wouldn't most creative photographers be doing that anyway?

Maybe I should be going out more, but every day I travel my own universe, and here is a small fraction of the results.

Further images from my diary project are uploaded to my pages at Flickr. Click here to view them.

Jeremy Webb Photography

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