This year’s circle in 12 parts features guest artists chosen by zodiac sign, my guest for Capricorn is Keryl Hodges.
“Yours is going to be the most complicated yet!”
“Why of course it is, I’m a Capricorn!”
“So do I need to talk about being a Capricorn, or my ideas, for this video?” I’m questioning, are my ideas for this video born of being a Capricorn or being me, am I truly a Capricorn?
When Jacob asked me to take part in his Circles in 12 Parts projects instantly I thought of at least 300 ideas, mostly fantastical, of things I wanted to do for it. I got super excited, this was in about April last year, plenty of time to plan, create, decide I thought! I wanted to express a lots of things that make me me, then I had to scale back a tad, I do a lot of things!
Visual, it had to be visual. Okay, it’s time. I admit it, I’m a photographer, it’s taken me 43 years to get to this point of true admittance. I don’t like admitting I’m a photographer because it always feels like a sham. I was born with a camera in my hand, I’ll probably die with one, I’m qualified but still. (I wonder if impostor syndrome is part of being a Capricorn too because I definitely suffer with that). So it had to involve images, photographs & film. (Well that’s a start!)
(459 ideas, they’re growing!)Many things happen in the house of Capricorn, there is the; Winter solstice at the start, Yule, Christmas, the dead days, New Year, National science fiction day, World Braille day, The 12th night, 3 kings, Global word search day, Martin Luther King Day, Winnie the Pooh Day, then there’s my birthday, on the 19th, the last day of Capricorn. (I’m a Capricorn on the edge!) What does being born in the house of Capricorn mean to me? (Now I’m starting to go down a spiral of am I creative because I’m a Capricorn or am I a Capricorn because I’m creative?, no that doesn’t make sense! Hang on, are Capricorns creative? I’m going to have to look that up now!) I know I’m unusual, I’m lucky in the fact I can turn my hand to most creative things very easily. I have a good eye, an artistic bent & love creating things. I have many hats but none I’m comfortable enough to wear for too long. (Don’t give me a title, oh no!) When I have to do something I focus & tend to try and pack as many ideas into one thing as I can because I get over excited (probably because I’m half goat). I get a lot of ideas, some fantastical, some mundane, some doable, some not. Then I question everything. My ideas, my ability, which I suppose is a duality thing? (Hmmm… Duality, that’s a Capricorn thing as well isn’t it? I know I’m bossy & know what I want, I know how to get things done, ask Jacob!) Are Capricorns easily distracted? No they’re supposed to be hardworking, ambitious & determined! Look!! ⬇️
Capricorns are practical (ah-hem!) as well, taking things one step at a time (errrr!) and being as realistic and pragmatic as possible.(guffaw!) Those with a Capricorn zodiac sign are extremely dedicated to their goals,(oh really!) almost to the point of stubbornness (yep!) . Those victories sure smell sweet, though, and that thought alone will keep Capricorns going (nope!).
Depth of field…
For me it has to be being born in the months of the darkest days and longest nights, the still sun, the teetering & tottering on the axis of the Earth, bringing light back into the dark. So I turned my attention to Solstice; the sun standing still, the longest night and shortest day, the unbalance. These thoughts turned to reflection; the old and the new, the looking back and looking forward, the God Janus, the god of beginnings, gates, transitions, time, duality, doorways, passages, frames, endings and of motion, after who January is named and the spirit trapped within the tail of the fish. (I want to say fish, is it a fish? It’s definitely a goat, well the top half anyway? A mermaid, no that’s stupid, it’s a goat fish? Isn’t it Babylonian? Ea? A sea goat? That’s it, a sea goat, called Ea. Or is it Greek, something to do with baby Zeus and his baby eating father Cronos and a goat called Almathea.) I made notes. So I started thinking (dangerous!). What could I use to capture that day, that moment , that time, those images, the still sun, natures physical essences of Capricorn. It would take planning, not my strong suit. I Decided it would all have to be created in the time of Capricorn. So I didn’t think much about it again until November.
November arrived. I started by thinking about a time-lapse of the day of the solstice on the first day of Capricorn, the first day of winter, the 21st of December 2021. I thought filming 16 hours time-lapsed was going to be about 15 minutes of video but instead I was duped by new technology in my phone and the 16 hours of filming actually turned into just under three minutes of video, great! (I need more material!) I had been sent flowers because my dog had died, roses to be exact. (What’s the flower of Capricorn? Is there a flower of Capricorn? I’ve looked it up, apparently it can be a pansy, it can be a carnation, it can be whatever the hell one person or another wants to say it is to sell flowers in this gloomy time of year!) The petals had fallen and dried and I kept them on the windowsill, (they become packaging I use for another endeavour!) so I took a photograph because they looked like skin, shedded. I’d been playing with a movie app on my phone that had a kaleidoscope setting, so I started playing with that, then all manner of ideas started coming to me of what I wanted to do. I wanted to do something with light, a projector, it’s something I’ve been thinking of doing for awhile but with no direction for output, now here was my chance. I started thinking about playing with reflections & time & light & creating a mirror of spirits with projections. I wanted to do something where I projected an image onto a person, a real-time image but slightly out of sync, as to cause a delay, a jarring but capture it in real time rather than using post editing. I wanted Jacob to look like Janus looking backwards and forwards, I wanted Jacob to reflect on himself multiple times. (deep!) I wanted to be playing with time, capturing moments of layered light out of the darkness & spectral imagery and I wanted it all to be captured live, a challenge. (Jacob outright flat refused to wear the all in one white lycra skin-suit I wanted to get for best projection reflection. And even the mere suggestion of white face paint was rejected on the spot, so I had to improvise & luckily he always wears his white performance shirt so….) I wanted to do the projection thing & take photographs, because as I said before, I am, at at my core, a photographer.(another admission, I must be careful!) So there had to be me taking stills while the projections were going on, more reflections. Also it would have to be done & recorded live on the chosen day.
I had the forming of my idea but how to put it into action? I need equipment! “JACOB!!”
Adjust the white balance…
In the meantime I’d got busy making fun short films using my phone. So … there’s a short video of my fire reflected with a representation of the sun, still & fixed in the middle (flamma, another obsession). I, like many, always like to light a fire in the dark and cold months, a yule log so to say, it plays a big part of my life. Then there is a short film which is the reflection of the petals and being able to see images of creatures and people within those petals that you don’t see without the reflection, things within things, looking back at each other but unseen. Then there’s a short film of the solstice time-lapse, which I also reflected as a triple reflection. (There’s a definite theme here).Then there’s the solstice day time-lapse with the film Capricorn One’s intro audio over it, just because it’s Capricorn ‘innit. You will notice the tarot card for Capricorn, The Devil, don’t be alarmed, (it’s not really the devil but Pan on the card & yes I’m learning to read tarot) it’s not an evil card. Ok it does hold a little toxicity, greed guilt, addiction, fear, control & possession but to me it represents being strong willed & ambitious, imagined insecurities & bondage. I may feel trapped but it’s by my own choices, (too many?) but I have the ability to break free at anytime to follow my ambitions, be determined & stop at nothing to obtain my goals. So going with that and truly embracing my full goat there was no stopping me!
Press the shutter…
The auspicious day arrived, the day of the performance & recording and with projector & camera set up and ready & a very nice camera in hand it was over to Jacob. The performance begun & I started shooting, I shot Jacob. (A joke my Dad always used to make about going out & shooting people at a wedding! He was a photographer too.) I was tripping over tripods in the dark, and forgetting that fade to black stops everything, and press that button, don’t press that button, and click over here, then find a better angle, oooh great lens, and gawd this camera is heavy and just when I was really enjoying it, it was over. Done, captured, completed. A little off axis, a lot of reflection and I still don’t know if I’m much of a Capricorn, or if I managed to express it, but I got it done. There’s a few errors, lessons we’ll call them, as they say the devils in the detail, he’s definitely in Capricorn! But much fun was had & I’m looking forward to doing more things in the next cycle.
I’d just like to add that these records I chose were by fellow Capricorns – Patti Smith – Because the Night, David Bowie – Heroes & the BeeGees (Gibb twins; Robin & Maurice) – Night Fever.
The others were The Beatles (no Capricorns I’m afraid) – Here comes the sun. The Unexplained flexi disc, (because it’s all spirits) And a tone test record (because I like tone/drone sounds).