Travel Reminiscing: the most revitalising (and emotionally masochistic) way to avoid the 'c'-word by Harry Sekulich
An analogue photo essay.
About this project: "A(america) NY(new york) T(texas) H(houston) I(illinois) N(niagara) G(greensboro) B(boston) U(utah) T(toronto) ... Throughout the 'c'-word pandemic, sentimental longings for a 'better' time have dominated social media threads. Those of us seeking delusional escapism to an easier time mentally revert to their travels. Right now, it seems impossible to think that we could once decamp the caves that we are now nestled within. Looking back on travels, we are reflecting on a barely recognisable version of ourselves. We yearn for that bold, open-minded, and inspired person. We experience a 'self' in travel that cannot be replicated at home. My photo journal catalogues my recent travels to the United States and Canada in 2019-2020. Ranking myself among the soppy dorks that doggedly invest in pre-'90s photographic technology, all of my featured shots are from 35mm developed film on a Canon AE-1. I have always found that there is a palpable satisfaction in reading a hard-copy book over its e-version. In a similar vein, I don't believe digital photograph could every fully supplant the emotional valency and nostalgia induced by analogue photographs. At first, developing this film during the 'c'-word pandemic felt like exploitative masochism. But why not go back your exciting past that is so antithetical to your 'now'? Photographs possess the power of displacement, piloting you into a territory of welcomed distraction. My film reel features a mixture of landmarks and ordinary life found abroad. The paradox of travelling is that you visit attractions of imagination in places inhabited by real, routine-loving people. You find yourself among the everyday commuters rushing through Time Square, or those ambling through Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. They are not you. But they have lives that could be yours. Now, more than ever, I think it's important to remember that. The bookends of the photograph series are shots from home. The visual chiasmus is pointing to a sense of entrapment in the present."
Scroll down to see this entry (click on each image to enlarge) and find out more about the contributing artist.
About the artist: "I’m Harry Sekulich, and I’m currently doing my Master of Journalism. While I should be out in the world exposing wrongdoing and writing scathing restaurant reviews, I am conducting all my exciting research and interviews from my cocooned bedroom. I am originally from Sydney - and made the seismic decision to move for down to Melbourne for my master just before COVID drove this vibrant city into lockdown (twice). My dogged use of analogue photography in a world that has moved into the digital realm speaks to my general knack for using outdated technology (I still buy the newspaper and own a Gregory’s street directory). Other than photography, I have been working on a new journalism project to cover environmental stories for young people."
We asked, our artists answered: why does creativity matter now? "In lockdown: it’s just you and your creative self. I have four great housemates who are all talented creatives: two singers, a dancer, and a photographer. For them, the creative field is their livelihood - not just a side hobby. Sure, playing piano is not the “essential” work that keeps society well fed, watered, and sheltered. But it gives life colour, which this pandemic has threatened to drain out of us all. For me, there is no separating the creativity and resilience during COVID-19. Both states of mind sustain the self while all else crumbles."