Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Musings on the work of Joss McKinley

Sunset, Ireland 2012 © Joss McKinley
There are moments when you forget what time it is. When your skin breathes sun and the smell of freshly cut grass hangs in the air. Occasionally a plane draws a silent white thread across the sky. Quietness surrounds you. Only the birds make ​​themselves heard every now and then.

The photographs of Joss McKinley alternate between landscapes, still lifes, abstract images and portraits, mostly of friends, family and loved ones. Through the use of soft colours and unspectacular subjects the photographs breathe tranquility. A boy sleeps under a languid sun, a beautiful woman looks serenely towards the horizon, a white wall, betrayed by a socket, reflects a golden afternoon glow. To give the photographs an interesting tension McKinley uses imperfections such as double exposure, blurred edges and stripes on the lens.

In 2009 Dutch philosopher Joke Hermsen wrote Stil de Tijd, (Stop the Time) a plea for a slow future. Her collection of essays deals with the elusiveness and complexity of the phenomenon of time. It states that,

'…since the introduction of international Greenwich Time at the end of the nineteenth century we have lived  more and more to the clock and so that other, more personal or inner experience of time has been expelled to the background'.(p.11)

"[…]wij sinds de invoering van de internationale Greenwichtijd aan het einde van de negentiende eeuw steeds meer naar de kloktijd zijn gaan leven en daardoor die andere, meer persoonlijke of innerlijke ervaring van tijd naar de achtergrond hebben verdreven". (p.11)

McKinley's work deals with human desire for nature, quiet, daydreaming and time. For me 'Gathering Wool' is the expression of Hermsen's inner experience of time in which there is no place for the clock. The meaning of McKinley's work lies mainly in the feeling of a loss of time evoked by his subject matter, the sequencing of the images and the space in between.

McKinley's photographs illustrate one of the fundamental characteristics of photography. Photography stops time and captures it in solidified moments. However,  because time cannot but continue on, a hint of melancholy remains.

Kim Knoppers

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