Friday, December 02, 2011

Rotten apples and Gothic novels

click photo to enlarge
Horror is one of the genres of film that I pass by. I can't take it seriously nor can I accept it as a tongue in cheek exercise. The plotting is often puerile, the acting awful and the photography feckless. Even where this isn't the case I'm invariably unwilling to suspend my disbelief. I feel the same about the Gothic novel too. Many years ago I read Horace Walpole's, "The Castle of Otranto" (1764), the novel that is credited with initiating this branch of fiction, and went on to Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein" (1818), a few Edgar Allan Poe stories and sundry other examples of the type. My experiences didn't encourage me to look further, something you may find surprising in someone who spends so much time photographing Gothic architecture.

It's not the core elements of the Gothic novel - terror, death, gloom, decay, darkness etc - that I take issue with so much as the fact they are the centre and totality of the experience offered: there is no light against which to contrast the deep shade (to use a vaguely photographic metaphor). In fact, decay is something that I do like. That's perhaps not surprising since it is claimed to be a feature of the English psyche that recurs in literature, painting and architecture down the ages.

I've posted quite a few images of decay on the blog, for example these hydrangeas and water lilies, and I've even got a few involving death, such as these moles and a swan. Last November I photographed some windfall apples as they started to discolour. Today's photograph is another attempt at this subject, a little later in the year and with, perhaps, a little less focus on decay and a touch more on semi-abstract pattern making. I particularly liked the effect of the interloper willow leaf that had settled like an acute accent over the very decomposed apple on the right.

photograph and text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Canon
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 100mm (macro)
F No: f7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/80
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation:  -0.33 EV
Image Stabilisation: Off