Fragile Existence

Dear Leonard. To look life in the face. Always to look life in the face and to know it for what it is. At last to know it. To love it for what it is, and then, to put it away. Leonard. Always the years between us. Always the years. Always the love. Always the hours - Virginia Woolf

Tragedy leaves behind susceptible shards of broken glass. The pieces, sharp and dangerous, slant sideways, staring into the blackened mirror of a broken life. Set at right angles, the glass cuts the skin, producing the first daub of crimson blood as it breaks the soft tone of the skin. The lens retreats, looking out over the still water, silent but for the quiet trickle. It is an image that floods the soul with solemnity.

In March 1941, Virginia Woolf put on her overcoat, filled her pockets with stones and walked out into the River Ouse. She drowned herself. Her body was not found for another three weeks. Her depression was, and is, like many. It is suffering on a severe scale, the kind that attempts to strangle hope, clinging to the soul with all its apparent might, sapping both energy and desire. The river runs red.

The music is the ambient heartbreak, the sound of the serene flow of water, mixed in with the abrasive crackle of stone rock. The brook rustles in sync with the breeze, stirring the grass against the banks. A silver sheet of silk billows against the thicker drone, and it is as fluid as liquid in the palm of the hand. It is restful music, incredibly beautiful in its sound, but it is tragic, too. It’s the sound of the glass creaking and then breaking under the weight of life. The soft circles of light are soon-to-be tears, trailing from lost open eyes.

It is emotional music, teary-eyed, touching upon the fragile nature of our being. The music is made potent, due in part to the acknowledgement of trouble. Margins is a discovery, the physical wound that enters into the psychological pain of depression. It can work its way into any walk of life; the open fields of countryside are just as susceptible as the inner urban sprawl. Sometimes, it is everywhere you look, staining the mind; just as hard to remove as the latest tag of graffiti that graces the underside of a tunnel.

Margins is a blossoming relationship between the two mediums of music and photography. The fragile state of things – of life – is given breath through the photographic lens. Daniel Crossley’s photographs capture the thread-thin emotional margins, of moods that come and go as they please, often without warning. The struggle reborn. During a lifetime, the mind can become entangled, trapped, in the branches of the world. It can feel as if there’s no way out. The pale, ambient light brings solace; we should be thankful for that light, pale or not, shining onto the branch with the possibility of release.

Craig Tattersall’s music is the beautiful surrender. The tone decays, susceptible to the drones and the turbulent nature of change. Because sometimes life doesn’t just piss you off – it tries to destroy you. The tone of the piano brings the reality of depression into stark focus, unyielding in its desperation but remaining sensitive to its subject. Fizzling gently and kindly, the drone dimly shines through the photograph, illuminating the poetry in front of the lens; the beloved flower, prone in the open space. Soft orbs of light scatter themselves, and become stationary, smooth lines of ink that are captured forever.

It is, at times, a struggle. The failing mechanism lies dormant in many, but it abides close to the heart. The music understands the struggle, but it also takes heart; we’re all in this together. And while for most the sound of the stream trickles on, sadly some are now silent. Not all of them made it.

It is a poignant, personal work that takes in a time of immense sadness. The sunshine cannot hide the colour of the water. Contemplating its final moments in song, the sadness is close at hand, lingering against the fingers like the light, longing touch against a grassy bank; so close that the emotion could be near home, if it were not for the blossoming blurry pool, coloured in red.

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