The Death of Things – Tony

DeathOfThings

I’m calling my second book “the Death of Things,” as it deals with the death of things that seemingly aren’t able to die, i.e. air, water, earth, etc. As we discussed at James’ home, I was interested in representing the time at which something is dying, assuming that that last moment of life lasts indefinitely, which is counter to my own concept of death. I suppose it plays into some people view of purgatory. As I wanted to focus on the the imagery, and not describing the moment, James suggested I look to someone who’s masterful grasp of language would do that work for me. In this case, I have chosen an excerpt from T.S. Eliot’s poem “Little Gidding” one of the “Four Quartets”. Incidentally, I would suggest reading this to all of you, it is not difficult to read and the imagery is very effective, not all of it so dark as the portion I have chosen.

In the first stanza, which discusses the death of air, I have chosen images that I captured of a burning match, something that takes a matter of seconds. This part of the poem talks about ash, burning and dust suspended in the air, like smoke. It also alludes to the burning of a house, which I use later in the book.

The second stanza deals with the death of earth. I used a young women smoking as she ages to represent some of the ideas in this section. For instance, the flood and drought flowing over the eyes and mouth seemed similar to smoke flowing out of the mouth and over the eyes as a smoker exhaling, I have in this case chosen to represent the earth as the face of a woman aging.  Another line, “the parched eviscerate soil…” refers to the womans aging face as well.

The last stanza discusses the death of water and fire, and to represent these concepts I chose to use photographs from fires that I myself helped fight. The last image is of family pictures hung on the wall that have survived a fire, that I feel signify the battle between the built environment and the eroding forces of fire and water. Unintentionally, the last section of the book has a lot of “noise,” ink that found it’s way through a poorly coated screen. This noise further adds to the idea of decay towards the end of the book.

I also noticed that the images I had chosen tell another story though the book. The lighting of a match, dying with a cigarette and subsequent housefire are a common cause of fire.

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