November Practice/Ritual

Gregory Fawkes

2019 - Ongoing

I was born at the end of September and I understand that as the reason why the early morning November sun light in New England is such an intense experience for me. In the last few years this feeling has humbled me with this intensity and overall presence in my life. Since I was seventeen, I have remembered crying and feeling safe even when in unsafe situations, during times that I am embraced by this light. The feeling is overwhelming and only understood when being fully submerged in the climate. The feeling is playful and meets me as I dream of being a Twilight Zone spaceman. The feeling follows me as I awake and drink morning coffee in bed. The feeling then begins to depart and it becomes time to get ready for the ordinary world.

This photographic ritual is not meant to be strictly followed and there is no defining law. The only thing that is specific about the practice is the environment. As the city (or the town or the village or the desert) begins to awaken, the opportunity to experience the light sleeps. The act of staying connected to the bed sheets that one has just rested in, by means of wearing

them, is a realization of the environment and its ability to be worn.

I have practiced this experience with people individually and in a group before. Usually as the capturer of the moment, I place myself under similar conditions by wearing few to little clothing and also by being barefoot. I think that the willingness for someone to wake up so early and exercise this practice with me, one that I don’t even fully understand, is a performance of trust. The bedsheet feels like a performance of intimacy.

Meeting with artists and instructors such as Daniel Peltz and Jung Joon Lee has helped me to further understand my own artistic intentions and to gain a base of knowledge about this type of practice. I am particularly interested in the book Mapping/Sitting from the Arab Image Foundation. Several collections from this book feature photographs that are practiced in a similar environment (like someone swimming in the same space at a beach) repeatedly with a new subject each time. I also am interested in ritualistic work by Laurel Nakadate and Nick Taggart. These artists and their use of easily accessible forms like polaroid inspire me and also align with my own uses and views of these devices.

Even although this practice can only be performed during a few weeks out of the year, my investigation also lies in the relationship that exists between November sun light and sun light that lives in the other eleven months. November is where these

photographs awaken but they live and breath throughout the year. I have been making these specific photographs for several months now with the idea that they follow a type of order. All of the work is either 120mm or 35mm film and the rest of it is viewable on my website here: https://www.gregoryshark.com/rituel . The series that I have submitted features work from the last three months and is meant to be read start to finish. This is the story of the ritual and the order which it follows.

I would like to finally say that I am very labile in regards to this work and am very grateful for the opportunity to present it in any capacity. I am a full time student at Rhode Island School of Design and am grateful every day to study where I do. It is because of grants and scholarships like yours that I am able to pursue this education and investigate ideas like this one. Thank you very much for your time and consideration.

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