Searching for magic in Dog Town: a photographic journey
This project began as an exploration of Henry F. Talbot’s 1839 description of his new photographic process as “a little bit of magic realized”. It examines the role of sympathetic magic and the participation of non-human agencies in the creation of the photograph and explores the potential of photography to evoke a sense of re-enchantment with the everyday environment. The project defocuses on a minor suburban waterway, the Mangaone Stream in Palmerston North, an unsung remnant of a significant ancient wetland. As the project unfolded, it became a personal journey of exploration of a familiar environment not normally renowned for its magical potential. The methodology includes the development of a ‘magical ’ photographic praxis, utilising simple, analogue, zone-plate cameras , and silver gelatin based media that reference historical processes. The project attempts to rekindle Talbot’s sense of magic at a time when the ability to photograph has become commonplace and unquestioned.