Walking Nevsky

These pictures were made along Nevsky Prospekt in St. Petersburg, Russia, for centuries the city's main thoroughfare and a street conducive to slow, contemplative walking through a constant swirl of changes.  I made them with a first-generation Blackmagic video camera fitted with a Schneider Cinegon 10mm wide angle lens, for the sake not of video footage but still photographs I could extract from that footage––pictures in mixtures of sharpness and blur unlike those I make with my Leica, my everyday camera.  In other words, the process was experimental.  The experiment mostly failed, but perhaps not uninterestingly.  It is another in a long line of failures of mine attempting to create a zone of overlap between art and life, in which the boundary between the two becomes meaningfully indistinct.  Indistinct:  the image seems to come to realness (is infused with the qualities of blooming and billowing, of being non-concluded and entropic) precisely because it escapes the control of the artist, and the world apart from images at the same time seems also to come into heightened realness (likewise blooming, billowing, non-concluded and entropic) precisely because an artist has done something to make these things known, or at least approachable.  Failures:  the imagination of such a zone of overlap and indistinction is crazy, quixotic, probably utopian, and pictures and picture sequences fall flat when slapped with such dreams and expectations.  And I could say further things about zones of overlap––between my own subjectivity and the counterpresences of strangers, and between an awareness of history and the everyday world of this here, this now––but speaking of the effort to create visual analogues for these things also leads to thoughts that blow through the mind like clouds.  And when these thoughts blow away?  There is the still light of northern Russia, and a camera in the hand, and nothing better to do than walk the aftermath of the meditations.

Jason Francisco, August 2019