Untitled (black and white photograph) by Paul Politis

Some days, when the mood strikes, I like to set my camera to square format and to regard the world through that visual framing for a while. I never know on any given day what kind of mood I will be in, whether I will be particularly attuned to abstractions or realism, objects or to people, to black and white or colour, etc. I tend to just follow my intuition, to try (not always successfully) to remain open and without intention, and not to force anything. I wonder if others can relate to that?

Recently, I’ve begun putting together a set of handmade books as a sort of ‘contact sheet’ of all of my shots from 2022 that I’ve processed. If I’ve processed a photo it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s something I consider posting online but that there is something interesting there nonetheless. Also, I mean ‘contact sheet’ in terms of the chronological aspect of the presentation of the photos, not the size of the reproductions, which will be mostly two per letter-sized page. It’s going to be a rather large endeavor (100 to 150 pages).

As I’ve gone through the work in chronological order it’s been fascinating to see the evolution of interests and subtle ideas, both visual and thematic, play out over time; days, weeks, months. On certain days or string of days or weeks I’ll see a recurrence of specific things or ideas; it might be a particular shape or pattern, a certain subject or theme, colour, composition, etc.

I notice, as well, that often the attributes of the first situation that I come across on a given day that excites me sufficiently to prompt me to take a photo often primes me to notice those elements elsewhere during the day as I wander along. Sometimes it’s very subtle, but placing the photos in chronological order (which I’ve not done before as I tend to place photos in my own idiosyncratic and increasingly hopeless foldering system as I process them) has made it easier for me to recognize some of these threads. The two photos in today’s post are one example of what I’m talking about, both taken on the same day this past October. I shot both from/of different bridges and you can see the similarity also in compositional lines, for example.

It’s interesting to me to see these subconscious elements, the exploration that seems to have an underlying method to its madness on multiple levels of analysis, revealing itself over time.