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The photographs in this book have a ceremonial quality about them, as if the animals and the birds present themselves to us one by one – the fox, the hare, the wild boar, the deer, the mouse, the snail, the bird of prey, the fledglings, the owl – as well as something rather solemn, in that we see them the way they are in themselves, in their own world, normally so out of reach from our own. The world we see in these images is a secret world, though no less so when light re- turns to the land, the animals retreat into hiding and the forest again becomes recognisable to us; on the contrary, the mystery seems only to thicken. - Karl Ove Knausgård
Night Procession – Print edition
Edition of 50, signed and numbered
Incl. 16-page saddle-stitched booklet with accompanying essay authored and signed Karl Ove Knausgård
Housed in plant pigment stained clamshell box
Photogravure print on Somerset Soft White, 300 gsm, signed and numbered
400 x 500 mm
In March 2014, my family and I moved from east London to rural south Sweden where my partner Lena is from. I understood that these new surroundings would inform my work in very different ways and that nature would play a key role. I was looking forward to making work that did not feel restricted and suffocated by modern photographic technology nor would make an inaccurate projected impression of the natural landscape we had become part of.
On my many walks, I soon came to realise that this new, apparently bleak, flat and open landscape was in fact teeming with intense life. Small clues appeared during daylight hours that helped me understand the extent of activity during the night. Clusters of feathers, animal footprints of all sizes showing regular overlapping routes, gnawed branches, eggshells, ant hills, nibbled mushrooms and busy snails and slugs working through the feast provided from the previous night
I started to imagine the creatures in absolute darkness on the forest floor driven by instincts and their will to survive. I imagined them encountering each other. I thought of their eyes – near redundant in the thick of the night – and their sense of smell and hearing finely tuned and heightened.
Envisaging where this activity might unfold, coupled with a hopeful foresight, I placed cameras equipped with motion sensors, to trees, mostly at a low level, so that any movement triggered the camera shutter and an infra-red flash (which was outside the animals’ visual spectrum).
Talking to Ants, I placed objects such as plant life, insects, seeds and dust from the place I was photographing inside the film chamber to create in-camera photograms creating a confusion of scale. Or, in 2012, in Best Before End, as a photographic response to the rise of high-energy drinks, I used the drinks themselves to part-process the film as they ate into the emulsion. These approaches added an element of uncertainty, without knowing exactly where the images would land, and relied on a point where intentions met chance with the hope that the subject itself could play a part, lead the way or become embedded in the finished images.
This time, though, it felt as if I was stepping out altogether, so that the subjects would orchestrate and perform and take on the role of author while at that moment I was likely to be sleeping. This was nature’s time to speak and let itself be felt and known.