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The Orations of the Pond

Exhibition view of three framed photographic prints.

The Orations of the Pond, 2020, Exhibition View


The Orations of the Pond, 2020, Exhibition View

Mirrored Lake s.jpg

The Orations of the Pond is a site-specific work made over a period of two years at Ashburnham Place, East Sussex.


In traditional theories regarding the idea of the "landscape", seeing, or the activity of looking is an organizing force under which the land is categorized, divided, evaluated, and prepared as a resource to be employed, owned, or exploited. In more ancient thought, however, the land is experienced as a living "other", with its own agency, to be met with reverence, equality, even fear, and with the recognition of a one sided dependency of human life upon it. The writers of Psalms, for instance, recognize the natural world as capable of action in the form of worship. In their poetry, rivers clap their hands, mountains sing, and trees lead entire conversations.

In the Orations of the pond, photography becomes the process through which agency is negotiated and redistributed across the apparatus of the camera and the surface of the print. After thought by Henry Fox Talbot, who thinks in his The Pencil of Nature of photography as a process of self-inscription of the natural world onto the plate in the camera, the act of seeing becomes reciprocal through the lens. A 5x4'' view camera is set up repeatedly next to the same small lake. A plate is inserted and the shutter opened, allowing the lake to display a picture on its surface, that is in turn visible on the ground glass plate as a latent image and inscribed onto the plate as a photograph. I had assumed that I would end up with very similar pictures, but was amazed at the great variety of pictures and magical, fantastical worlds that opened up over the months and years on the lake's surface.

In 2022, The Orations of the Pond were published as part of THE HOURSin which they appear under the title MATINS.

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