abjection archery photoshoot

Earlier in the week, I met Christian for crépes at a Belgian café beside the Spree; a first hello since I returned from Brussels. He has a quite splendid camera, and we’ve been talking about photos for a long time. Though bereft of corpse paint, and decidedly not topless, we still managed to make something this afternoon in the Naturkiez that is the west-end of Uferhallen.

All summer the grasses have been springing upwards, and now flowering riotously, it could be so easily – with the slightest imagination – a garden in a forest somewhere, or the Steppe reaching on endlessly. It’s where I practice archery, which of course I nominally practice for abjection, which I make for my own enjoyment.

There is a routine to preparation: assembling the bow; stringing it; applying the guards to forearm and fingers … sighting the target, aiming, drawing, a pause, releasing. Breathing. Christian also filmed me, so I discover how I align myself, how much I wobble or shake when drawing and finding the last instant. I am quite amateur, even if I bring whatever I might know about a body to this pursuit.

The scene in abjection requires all of this, with the exception of release. It makes good practice then, as Christian photographs in the low sun, to hold this draw, until my shoulders and and upper torso start to burn, and to do this over and over. If I plan to hold this for at least a few minutes, I’ll really need to engage in a process of suffering now.

He takes some 200 images and a couple of videos of me shooting over an hour while the sun passes below the tops of the neighbouring apartment blocks. In all this, I shot perhaps six times. Here are some … something of a sequence.