Gradually, we grew out of our past, explained away halos and beasts and cities of clouds. History, after all, is written by those that live in the present.
But it’s still there, that old world. Beneath our own, like a first coat of paint, glinting through chips and scratches.
A dragon’s tail where the TV bumped the wall. Constellations in curtains and hand-blown glass. Ancient actors’ footprints in the dust of vacant stages.
In the subtle bones of the sun-bleached things, we find distant familiarity, dormant blood-memory. Echoes of old in the cracks of the new.
Lingermyth (book pdf, 2022) is a collection of those echoes. Assembled from hundreds of walks across Cornwall and Devon, UK, Wisconsin, USA, and Costa Blanca, Spain, it depicts a world removed from our own, a world glimpsed in reflections and walls, in old paint and houseplants and long shadows on the ground.
Like tracks in the mud, Lingermyth's images hint at presence. They are a sort of synecdoche: from a seed of familiarity, we glimpse entire worlds at the edge of our own.
These worlds we find in the cracks of our own are implied and imagined, no more real than a bedtime story, and yet they are far more emotionally true, pull far stronger on the strings of our heart, than actual fact. Their potency is their unknowability; reality would only disappoint.
These images are sparse and lonely and betray very little of their grounding in reality. Without place or time, without context from which to build, they build on themselves.
Together, like a thousand windows glimpsed, they create something greater. This world existed, they suggest, somewhere far and long ago, and you’re looking at its last remains.
We long to peek around the borders of these images, to wander, for a moment, through that unwanderable world. There is a distance in this longing, and yet there is also a tantalising closeness.
That world is unreachable, yes, but it is also very near, as near as the hearts between our bones; we are left, at its edge, to dream.