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  Frank Littler

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Stories – Images

Narrative and the imagery connected with it have always been an intriguing aspect of the world, a potent agent for my imagination. Growing up as a Roman Catholic I was nourished on stories of the saints and their miracles. Also there were tales my father told me about his time in the navy during WWII.

The words of the stories were important, but more compelling were the pictures associated with them – sometimes confused in mental imaginings;  but also, more concretely, seen in the many family photos and religious picture books of my youth.

So for me, images provide a great stimulus for ideas. These can come from a wide range of sources: newspaper and historical photos bear witness to events (sometimes significant, but sometimes tapping into the absurd); other images might intrigue and haunt us, prompting questions. Books I have recently found document the remains of sunken warships around Guadalcanal. These images connected immediately with my memories of my father’s stories, clarifying and heightening my emotional connection with him. As well as these personal connections however, the images also captured the atmosphere of an important historical event and its repercussions. The images of these enormous rusting forms looming out of the depths of the ocean present a serious lesson for today’s world in their reminder of the consequences of powers overreaching themselves.

Images, of course are not always recorded. There are also the images gleaned from everyday life. Sometimes they are places that fascinate, like the abandoned building site near my home. Sitting unfinished for years, it is now overgrown with bush and has become something of a wetland, with ponds and bird life.

Other notions prompted by what everyday life might be:

Surveillance blind spots
unfinished handles
something stuck under car
looking into glare
unconvincing disguises
the back of the podium at night
camouflage not working
customized appliances
unpredictable beings shiver on sports badges
having the wrong symptoms
or shoes worn-out from the inside
maybe the space under the house.

Frank Littler
June 2005