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a moment

From the BBCs The Man Who Shot the 60s (about photographer Brian Duffy):

I tell you the thing I’ve always been amazed at … is looking into a camera lens at someone, and they just change. And then all of a sudden you see something. And you’re not sure if you’ll discuss it because you’re not sure if you’re drunk or anything. I always think of a photograph, if you look, you realise that in front of it, in time, there was something not very interesting. The photograph is absolutely interesting, and a fraction after it’s not interesting. There’s a moment, you think, what was happening at that very moment?’. If a photograph doesn’t have that in it … [shrugs shoulders]

– Brian Duffy The Man Who Shot the 60s

Lil Boyce was watching this programme, looked up and said something like, … the photograph that you pick off a proof sheet … is the moment when that image [the image that you choose’] is the moment when that image poses a question, or makes you you ask, What was happening in that moment?”’. The photograph does not provide the answer, and a caption only provides one of many possible answers.’

She then read from Hackney, that Rose-red Empire, where author Iain Sinclair quotes photographer Stephen Gill:

You learn to think in images. And in the strategic arrangement of images. Language is imprecise. It muddies the water.

For Lil, Stephen Gill is suggesting the opposite of Brian Duffy. In other words, Lil’s take on Duffy is that he is proposing that the image-question affords the possibility of a language-based solution’, but with Gill language gets in the way of the solution’.

I like the idea of images provoking questions (this is rather obvious given that I am, after all, a choreographer). I also like hearing about the imprecision of language (mostly because I get rather tired of hearing just how precise and transparent language is). But, I suspect the thing that really drives me is the possibility of developing work in which the interplay or enfolding between image and language produces both clarity and questions.

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