Monday, 26 December 2011

Mellie 7459

The lovely Mellie D
from a while back

You know, people often stop me in the street and say, "Ashley, you're so brilliant - but what inspires you?" And the answer is Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, end of post happy new year. Oh, I'll write more, but look at the model:

That one image filled me with more dreams than years of school. Of the Discovery, floating in the darkness of space, delineated with a sliver of light. The only illumination in the solar system comes from the sun, and at this point in the film the spaceship is on its way to Jupiter. The sun is just a distant point source.

For practical reasons Kubrick bathed this side of the spaceship in a bit of fill light; in real life it would be dark. Also, sliver is the right word. Snakes slither. The easy way to remember is that knives are made of silver. And the V, in the middle of the word. It's a cut. A spike. Knife blade / slash cut / stab stab stab! That's what goes through my head when I think about photography.

And Bob Carlos Clarke's The Dark Summer, which was 2001 in latex. 'cause latex is black. Now, I used to think that it Kubrick got it wrong, because the spaceship is flying away from the sun, and yet the light is coming from the side. But spaceflight is a lot more complicated than just pointing the ship at the target and firing the engine. In practice, the Discovery would be using a transfer orbit; you have to imagine that the planets - and the Discovery - are all connected to the sun with long pieces of string, and the sun is spinning around, and in order to travel to Jupiter a spaceship has to, er, unwind the string, by speeding up. Like a needle on a record, but going outwards. And the sun is the spindle. What's in the groove? Sun Ra, probably, or Pink Floyd.

So, photography and orbital mechanics. Art and science, combined in the same mind, like milk and petrol. Sometimes I wish I was someone else, so I could observe my genius from afar.