Monday, 20 September 2010

Straw and Order

The Problem (In two parts)
To make two photographs that - when viewed side-by-side - unite opposites. For example: light and dark; good and bad; right and wrong; left and right.

Philosophy: I felt I was clutching at straws with this brief. So I bought a black bin-liner, went to a farm, filled it with straw and used it as a pillow. My best ideas often come to me in my sleep; and I always fall asleep faster when I’m lying in a position– in a field – from which I can count real sheep.
Part One: Next morning I drag the sack of straw to a cafĂ©, for coffee, where I resist saying: I like my coffee like I like my women. Out of a black bin-liner. The only customer’s a Small Time Crook - a Petty Criminal – a desperate character I’ve known – by sight - since school. He’s sitting there, alone, looking down on his luck. This was both unexpected and fortuitous: it gave me the opening I was looking for: I asked him to clutch at straw. He didn’t exactly jump at the chance, but he agreed to hold it at arm’s length. I take a photograph: Straw-and-Order. He finishes his tea, hands me back my pillow, leaves. The next part’s a piece of cake.
Part Two: I call the police and tell them I have information on the whereabouts of a Known Criminal. They send a Constable, right away (look at the clock, they responded in under an hour). After I’ve spun him a yarn about sheep rustling, I ask the PC if he’ll pose for a photograph - one that best demonstrates, The Long Arm of the Law. I snap the PC clutching my bin-liner, thus re-strawing (thatching? – ‘To Thatch a Thief’, staring Cary Grant; carrier bags...) Straw-and-Order. They’re one and the same, the Petty Criminal and the Police Constable. Both are PC.

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