We know that most things in life will come and go. That things change and nothing remains the same. The leaves fall off the trees in autumn, people split up, we move to different houses or a different city, we grow up and we grow apart. It’s one of the things I struggle with most in life but it’s also one of the things that fascinates me more than anything else; the impermanence of everything and how we try to hold on to what we have and what we know.
I don’t like change, I don’t embrace it easily or elegantly. I try to hold on for as long as possible, even after it seems ridiculous and letting go would be easier. There were two stubborn, shell-shocked weeks in London after I moved from Denmark, where my suitcase remained in the middle of the room with all my clothes in it, until one by one every item in it had been used and needed to be washed. It was only then that I folded them and hung them up in the wardrobe and as the smell of fresh laundry filled the room more like a home. I let go then and let it become exactly that.
A few months ago I was scrolling through Instagram when a photograph by film photographer Chi came up on my feed. Chi takes beautiful photographs of flowers in a way I have never seen anyone else do, they are poetic and full of swirling colours and light. The caption under the photo mentioned that it was taken with Adox Color Implosion film and that sadly it was being discontinued. In the same moment I was discovering this film, a film I might like to try to use myself, it was gone. It was such a sad thing to hear, that just as film photography is having a resurgence, some films are going for good.
I bought some rolls of the film while they were still available and inspired by Chi’s photographs and my own preoccupation with nostalgia I went to the church of St Mary’s to shoot my first roll. St Mary’s is a ruined church I have been to before and which was bombed and nearly destroyed by a doodlebug during WW2. And since then it’s just been left to slowly disintegrate into the landscape on the top of a hill in the Kent countryside.
If you have been reading this blog for a while you probably already know I have a thing for ruins, both the real ones and the ones depicted in art and books. They make me think of all things Gothic, of Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey and the ruins often depicted in Turner’s paintings. Especially at this time of year, the slow dissolving of colour and the appearance of a more barren world in autumn and winter makes me want to seek them out.
I think there is something both romantic and wistful about these shelled-out churches and crumbling houses and castles, they are a reminder that nothing lasts but that change can be beautiful. We might lose our so carefully build constructions to wars, tragedies, natural disasters and the passing of time but they can transform into magical places of mystery and half-forgotten memories. They can live on in a different form like when nature reclaims them, letting vines grow in the cracks that have appeared and spreading the seeds of daisies over tumbled stone walls where they will begin to bloom up.
So that is where I went to try out my first roll of Adox Color Implosion and to experiment with what it could look like. Because what could be more appropriate than capturing an ever-changing, slowly disintegrating place than doing it on a film that is about to disapear. Trying in some way to appreciate and hold on to them both before they are gone. So here they are, my photographs from St Mary’s church in the countryside of Kent, an ode to nostalgia and the things that do not stay the way they are.
All photographs captured with my Ricoh KR-5 with a 50mm lens on Adox Color Implosion 100 film.