POWER is a photographic essay. To call it an essay is to name the rising agent in this photographic series.
If it is an essay it is a type of physical and self-conscious trial.
All these photographs are such a wavering setting-out. They embody risky reach.
Gear change: at the extreme of such wavering, setting-out gestures, at their maximum promotion, there is the echo of Doubting Thomas’ reaching into the space between his and Christ’s once pierced side. His is a great Western original pointing, at glaring deficiency.
Thomas’ five-second act: the West’s greatest essay.
So back to the POWER series that you can saunter by or re-read and think about again and again.
POWER is a jump out and across that has all of the unfolding cadence of a walk.
Patrick Reynolds’ essay is not something signifying belief and disbelief. Neither was Thomas’ probing at the body of the newly spacious god.
You can see it. The original essay was not a fact-lover’s enquiry to downplay doubt and restore or confirm a previous order. Thomas was without doubt. In his reaching out, in his addressing, in his famous action Thomas was least himself. He was at the edge of something; absorbed within and conscious of his as a surprising motion in the middle of something. And what was this something that the Saint was on the edge of and reaching into? It was a state resembling Thomaslessness.
So too with POWER which is a series of photographs that you can spend a lot of time with. They appear to be pretty uneventful images at first. Then you can see that they repeat one discovery gesture all the time. But it is a discovery that is indistinguishable from something that you do when you are becoming lost.
It is incredulity’s reflex, this repeated leaning of the Hasselblad toward the river.
An essay then, and in particular this photographic one: it is a gesture that responds to a call, performed thoughtlessly and before the burgeoning of a gap where a gushing is now taking or has taken place.
POWER is the record of an exchange conducted in the face of a river.