Considering the feedback that I have received for the first iteration of my WIPP (Fig: 1), I wanted to create a title for the work that lends a certain ambiguity to the reading. As the work is in part inspired by the Robert Frost Poem, I looked again at how Bryan Schutmaat titled his work ‘Grays the Mountain Sends’ (Fig: 2), which was inspired by the poetry of Richard Hugo. His title is taken from a line in the poem ‘Degrees of Gray in Philipsburg’: “Hatred of the various grays the mountain sends, hatred of the mill, The Silver Bill repeal, the best liked girls who leave each year for Butte” (1992). Hugo’s poem uses the idea of ‘degrees of gray’ to paint a picture of the ebb and flow of human relationships, which relates to Hugo’s own personal experiences prior to writing this poem (Potts, 2012). For Schutmaat, this is a translation into the relationship between the people and the landscape in his photo series.
A Desert Place vs Between Stars
Initially, I thought about titling this series ‘A Desert Place’ in a direct reference to the poem however, this could be quite obvious so instead I have considered the metaphor within the poem to see if any connections to my work can be made. A phrase that jumps out at me immediately is “Between stars – on stars where no human race is” (Frost, 1936, p. 44). Frost uses this line as a way of contrasting a vastness of space with the narrators own internal desert, which aims to create a kind of hope of putting one’s own personal challenges into a kind of perspective. According to analysis by Li Wang, this comparison “serves to aggrandise the speaker and the importance of his own personal desert” (2013, p. 2095). I can use the line ‘between stars’ as a way of emphasising the in-between nature of my images, or rurality of them. It also references the idea of connection to place.
More lonely ere
Another line from Frost’s poem is: “And lonely as it is, that loneliness Will be more lonely ere” (1936, p. 44). The word ere is a preposition meaning ‘before in time’ and I quite like the idea of naming the series ‘more lonely ere,’ to create a sense of the connection that I am attempting to explore with the sequence. This again is a way of placing me into the series and also an attempt of putting emphasis on the reader being the protagonist on the journey. As Wang also notes:
“It is an archaic word. As we have known that Frost’s language is so simple and ordinary that the common readers can understand it. But this only archaic word appears here to remind us of focusing on what the adjacent sentences want to emphasize. It emphasizes the intensification of mood. The implied rebirth in the necessary melting of the snow and the re-emergence of the field as a real thing is an unassimilated lump of hope”(2013, p. 2096)
I believe that this provides the best link between the poem, the metaphor and my images. Ultimately, my journey story is an intensification of mood from ‘the call’ at the start through ‘the journey’ and ‘the ordeals,’ toward a resolution and ‘the goal.’ Within the bleakness of some of the images that I am presenting, my aim is that is some kind of hope still, represented in the end of the sequence, and the goal (Fig: 3). The idea of ‘more lonely ere‘ essentially translates to ‘more lonely before,’ as to suggest that the act of completing the journey provides hope for a better relationship with place.
I have taken further inspiration from Robert Frost and used the cover from the book ‘A Further Range’ where ‘Desert Places’ is published as inspiration (Fig: 4). Initially, I sought to emulate the cover but found that I need to develop this further and as I evolved the title, I aim to do the same with the cover. The basic referenced elements are there and I have change the colour to a green as a further reference to rurality and also included a three star symbol between the title and my name to visually represent the in-between element of the title (Fig: 5).
Frost, R., 1936. A Further Range. Transcribed eBook ed. s.l.:Proofreaders Canada.
Hugo, R., 1992. Making Certain It Goes On: The Collected Poems of Richard Hugo.. Re-Issue ed. New York: W. W. Norton & Co.
Potts, M., 2012. On Richard Hugo’s, “Degrees of Gray in Philipsburg”. [Online]
Available at: https://michaelpotts.livejournal.com/8861.html [Accessed 26 11 2020].
Schutmaat, B., 2014. Grays the Mountain Send. [Online]Available at: http://www.bryanschutmaat.com/grays [Accessed 26, November, 2020].
Wang, L., 2013. An Artistic Analysis on Robert Frost’s Desert Places. Theory and Practice in Language Studies, 3(11), pp. 2092-2097.