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An Early Peek: Photo-graphy

June 22, 2019

Malcolm Guite


Light-writing? Well there’s nothing left to write,

The camera must supersede the ode,

And every subtle shimmer of the light

Be rendered and reduced to so much code:

On-off, on-off, on-off. The noughts and ones

Add up to nothing you can comprehend,

A print-out, like the print-out of old bones,

A genome iteration without end.

We cannot code or decode our own baggage,

A cut too subtle for our subtle knife,

So I cut free from my downloaded image,

To seek again the analogues of life,

The mysteries we screen off with this screen.

I go off-screen to see and to be seen.

This poem is from a stunning new collection of of Malcolm’s poetry titled “After Prayer” coming out in October of 2019  from Canterbury Press. 

The featured image is (c) Lancia E. Smith. It was made at Gladstone’s Library in Wales, one of Malcolm’s favourite places. During this trip, Malcolm and Lancia talked about photography as the art of writing with light, and the importance of seeing and being seen, in portrait making and in life at large.


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