Sprawling On A Pin
I love going to the Chamber’s St museum in Edinburgh. I have memories of going there as a child, and so now when I go with my own kids, the tang of nostalgia waits for me round every corner. It’s a natural history museum, so along with fragile, Greek pots, glittering geodes and hands-on science experiments, there are floors and annexes filled with stuffed animals, cases of insects and aviaries of birds in faux flight. I remember my 8-year-old self being completely fascinated by these weird beings which lacked animation; their marble eyes staring through me as I pressed my face against the glass case. The animals that I saw through young eyes, are still those that you can see today, but now their colour has faded, their coats seem shabby and unkempt, and their scales dusty. Despite this, looking around me, I can see that they still hold a huge fascination for all the younger visitors. It makes me wonder whether it’s my adult’s perception of them which strips them of their life and colour, and that they have actually looked like this the whole time. Or maybe the child’s eye, through which these creatures were rendered magical, is the true perception. Whatever the case may be, I will admit that they made a great study for my photography.
In taking these photos, I was trying to regain the childish wonder that I so carelessly grew out of. What do you do to collapse the distance between your child and adult self? How do you retrain your eye to see the world with a child’s perception?