The connections between Jeff’s down to earth yet lyrical, nostalgic yet topical poems and Chris’ beautiful, evocative photographs, form their own network of infinite threads.
The poems and photographs are in a conversation, a dance, an embrace; the result for us, the reader and viewer, is that we get taken on a multiverse of journeys using all of our senses.
It is a journey from the past to the present and from Benwell in Newcastle, to the South of France and beyond. One which generously takes us with them and gives a richness of experience that is making me wonder why all poetry collections aren’t illustrated with photographs.
Like Jeff’s engaging, inclusive poetry, which I have had the pleasure of hearing on many stages we shared in Newcastle (and on jaunts around Britain, and in France, Berlin and Prague when the world was both smaller and bigger), Chris’s photographs can microscope in on the small, daft details of everyday life, like a waving doll of the Queen or an abandoned plastic duck in a swimming pool, and telescope onto vistas of transcendent natural beauty.
Here’s to more collaborations woven from such brilliant words and images.
For more information on Kate please click on picture or visit katefoxwriter.wordpress.com.
“I first met Chris in the late 1970s when he came to the first of many workshops at the Photographers’ Place in Derbyshire; then much later our paths crossed by chance in deepest south west France.”
Jeff and Chris's collaboration is a marriage made in heaven. In the same way that Chris's photographs evoke and emote, so do Jeff's poems, without larding the process of observation and comment with literality. Their work is spare without being minimal; insightful and partial without being dogmatic. Subtlety with an edge. I was reminded of how Ted Hughes and Fay Godwin collaborated in The Remains of Elmet (1979). The content and the styles are different, of course, but the synergy is similar – and the respect for each other's mode of expression is the common feature. Hughes wrote poems about what was not in the images because the photographs were of something other than what was in front of the camera.
I remember the late Lewis Baltz saying that photography inhabited that deep but narrow divide between the novel and the cinema. I believed that poetry was the nearest art form to photography as they both describe objects and express ideas, feelings and emotions, and the finest transcend description to become timeless and affecting. This certainly defines the work in Infinite Threads.