Week 19 – The Horse and the Butterfly

Two other submissions that have recently been sent though to Riparian have been two poems, one by Sarah on the day of a life of an equestrian and one by Dave, a poet and radio broadcaster.

Both have been self-recorded, and both have been produced with relation to the Otter River.

Sarah’s is a very joyful, emotionally well delivered and visual reading of what it is like to own a horse and how such events transition across the day. I found it very appealing and surprising as I had not considered poetry to be part of Riparian.

Daves poem is more based in historical contexts, with a rendition of Samuel Taylor Coleridge – Sonnet: To the River Otter.

I also found this piece to be very compelling, and due to its historical and contextualised links to the Otter, I felt it was a welcome addition.

In terms of my FMP, I shall seek some counsel as to how best to consider and include poetry within the focused part of the project, that being the submission pieces due in December.

However, in terms of audience engagement, I can not see any reason as to why these should be omitted from Riparian in general, as they represent local peoples chosen methods of project engagement.

Therefore it will be hosted on the website and social media pages.

To visually illustrate these, I have chosen to develop both with underwater filming scenes.

As with all related works, such scenes work well for this project as ‘living photographs’ that being the frame remains still – but the image changes and evolves as the Story unfolds.

Like poetry, I am very struck by the potential for such living images to be incorporated into my practice. I consider the use of such a medium to be a bridge between my stills photographic works and my video pieces.

To me, this allows the exploration of a greater breadth of potential visual scenes that an audience can engage with and respond to. Water is, after all always moving, and so much fluid pictures hopefully will be appealing to any audience.

With Sarah’s Story, I have elected to capture leaves in fluid motion. These represent the horses she speaks of. Such motion, to me, is a good synergy between the skittish, often unpredictable equestrian beast, and their leaf counterpart – often the cause of their skittishness.

Sarah’s Story can be seen below:

In contrast, however, Dave’s Story is more formal in its approach, with Coleridge’s words proving a more contextualised yet formal discussion of the River Otter.

Such an approach is most likely due to the cultural ‘way of doing things; in Coleridge’s day. However, the poem does make a good grounding for Riparian within a historical context. It also brings forward the notion that the River Otter has inspired people for generations.

The selection for Dave’s Story has therefore been a sequence observing underwater plants flowing in the current. This feels like the most appropriate piece of visual for the poem. It represents, to me, the flow of the current and the motion of the river as alluded to by Coleridge.