A Swan’s Song



Black ink screen printed, 640gsm handmade indian paper, 100 x 80cm
Edition of 3 +2ap (2019)

A Swan's Song is a contemporary take on the photographic myth of 'optography'. 

Death has always had a powerful hold on the human psyche and now, more than ever we tend to preserve the last moment of our loved ones through photographic means. This has sparked a phenomenon where people are posting ‘last images’ online for the world to see. These are the last pixels this person will inhabit and the last memory they will impart onto the world before they disappear. These images that are shared and proliferated online are testaments, artefacts of the last pixels these people will ever occupy.

Just as it was believed that optographs could be used forensically to investigate the last view of someone or something before their death, these contemporary ‘optographs’ were created from the last images of people posted online. They give us an insight into a deeply personal and emotional moment that a stranger has decided to share with the internet.

Unlike the original idea of optography, the lens is turned onto the dying subject in ‘A Swan’s Song’, allowing us to experience their last dying moment with them. The works feel like faded memories, they are distant times, long gone - fading to black. As you step away from the prints you can see them more clearly, you see the bigger picture, but as you get closer everything blurs into black and white dots.