Singaporean prose and poetry writer Daryl Qilin Yam travels to England with the New Jupiter 3+ Art Lens. For his return to the digital pages of the Lomography magazine, he recounts the important details of his trip and highlights photography's role in effective storytelling.
Read Daryl's full narrative on his experience below:
On the 21st of December, 2017, I packed a fairly heavy tote for my day trip to Margate. But I was used to heavy, a fact which I found fortuitous but unfortunate. And my tote would contain my “essentials”, items I would need to survive the day: my wallet; my lip balm; my beanie and gloves; a portable battery for my iPhone 6 (which fritzed and failed me constantly in the cold); a copy of the Joan Didion omnibus, We Tell Ourselves Stories in Order to Live; and my camera, of course, with the new Jupiter 3+ art lens attached.
I had no real objective when I arrived at Margate, but I did have a destination in mind. A few years ago my friend Sophia told me an incredibly moving story about a summer’s day spent at Margate with her then-boyfriend, with the sole intention of visiting the Turner Contemporary; there she would be transfixed by a sculpture that closely resembled an actual cloud, floating above their heads in the gallery, and then she would have a moving conversation with a stranger beside her, an old man whose story had moved them both to tears.
The Margate of my own experience is cold. It is a cloud-covered beachfront with a 10% chance of rain, with winds that blew up to 8 miles per hour, causing the temperature to feel more like 9 degrees Celsius than 11. There are at most ten people at the beach at any point of time. In fact there is no sunshine here, just a kind of grey, watery illumination, but that only gave the place a moodier, more melancholic sort of beauty.
As I walked about the coastal paths, I was made aware at multiple points that there was an Antony Gormley sculpture I should be paying attention to. It was called “ANOTHER TIME XXI”, and it was made out of cast iron; the signs said, “PLEASE ENJOY THE SCULPTURE SAFELY FROM THE BEACH, SEA WALL & TURNER CONTEMPORARY”. But I couldn’t truly enjoy it, for I couldn’t spot it at all. For minutes I would stand there in the cold, looking out towards the sea, in search of a thing that wasn’t there.
It wasn’t till I entered Turner Contemporary when I finally got the full picture. “ANOTHER TIME” consists of a hundred Antony Gormley-shaped statues situated in many different parts of the world, including the River Thames and a mountain ledge in Kunisaki, Japan. The one on Fulsam Rock, in Margate, would be fully visible three hours before low tide, appearing to face the horizon. As the high tide approaches the statue would then appear to sink, deeper and deeper into the sea, before it fully disappears into the water.
Clearly I should have timed things better. I should have been the kind of person who anticipates what they are going to do on any day trip they are preparing to embark. But fortunately I am not the kind of person who mourns easily over a loss; I exploit it, rather, and channel it through creative means. I thus trained my lenses onto the Margate scenery, obsessed with the idea that Antony Gormley was missing. He could not be found in Margate. He was deep in the sea, but nobody knew exactly where. The few people of Margate walked along the beach, asking where he might be.
The new Jupiter 3+ art lens did much to help me capture a particular sense of loss. It casts a particular sheen over the image, so that subjects up close appear to be misted in a bokeh of their own making, while those further away blend halfway into backdrops. As my afternoon wore on in Margate the sun quickly descended, setting at 3.48pm to be exact, and the photos I took in the half-night turned specks of light into orbs and rays, some even merging into entire vistas. Wherever Antony is I hope he’s still watching.
written by crissyrobles on 2018-01-23