title. Natural Blue
name. Louis Norman
right now. Second year studying Philosophy and English Literature at the University of Edinburgh
Can you describe the moment you wanted to capture?
Shooting with film is always a challenge in the sense that you can never really tell if a photo’s worked out until you’ve had it developed. When taking a photo in which the sky makes up a large part of the composition, the risk is always that the deep blue will get washed out. These photos were an attempt to fully capture the depth and brilliance of that blue.
The sky is so variable, in some respects so uncertain. The way it casts light, or contains light, or diffuses light; it can be nothing but a backdrop, or it can become the subject of a photo itself. I wanted to blur that line a little bit with these photos.
Can you describe the moments you captured the photos?
These photos were all taken on walks in Dorset, shortly after getting a film camera. It was frosty but serene and very blue.
Where were you when you realised you wanted to make this piece of art?
There’s no premeditated intent behind a photo, but I think my focus shifted towards capturing the sky after I got my first roll of film back and the colours of the sky had been washed out from exposure.
How objects within nature interact with the sky has always been a bit of an interest, though. Compositionally speaking, the various elements in the photo of the moon above the pine trees and the dead oak are so disparate and small, and the various blues of the sky seem to both abridge and broaden that distance.
Were you listening to music when you created this piece?
Almost certainly. I’m pretty sure I listened to Bill Callahan’s ‘Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle’ and Ben Howard’s ‘I Forget Where We Were’ on the walk. There’s a good chance Laura Marling’s ‘Once I Was An Eagle’ also soundtracked these photos.
More recently, I’ve gotten into Julie Byrne’s latest record, ‘Not Even Happiness’. It has a really beautiful song called ‘Natural Blue’ which seems to have a thematic kinship with what I was hoping to do with these photos.
What have you learnt since creating this piece?
That if you spend 12 consecutive days in the library you can learn to tell the time from the varying degrees of resignation and/or desperation on people’s faces.
Where do you dream of living?
In a Studio Ghibli film or a cottage by a lake in a valley. The cottage probably doesn’t have wifi but it’s almost certainly haunted so I’m never short of entertainment.
What does blue remind you of?
Kingfishers. Pretty much every blue imaginable exists on the back of a kingfisher.