Four Remarks of Color & A Yellow Crescent Moon 

—A piece for the radio comissioned by Hoagy Houghton

A subjection to any influence, ulterior or otherwise; the harmful effects of extreme cold on the body. The act of allowing for the illumination of a given object; a section of film exposed to light; a combinatory equation of shutter speed and aperture; the act of showing up an evil; a state, being laid bare; An openness to danger; A moment of vulnerability or an overextended commitment or position; An appearance in public, on the television, say, or the radio; a direct contact; an openness to touch… an exposition. An acquaintance with the elements. I’ll stake a claim to this photograph as picturing the various definitions of exposure. All I can see is your jaw, as though lit from below, providing foundation for the outline of your face, lit from below, that seats an absence of definition as the running-line here. No eyes. A little mouth. The city cuts the window behind you in orange; it is the only makeup the room will wear. Description, posed definitively, is an insight or a truth in “imperfect definition.” That’s not my own idea, but a borrowed one. This is an imperfect picture of you. Somebody else’s idea. Your shirt, accordingly, fattens out like liquid crystal—an older, cotton screen—that’s pockmarked with colour as though touched with the heavy pressure of a thumb or an index finger. Like most screens, the t-shirt looks nostalgic, by inference rather than design, as though the bounce of light from here to you has elected a focus—something worth remembering. Four remarks of colour and a yellow, crescent moon. As a photograph of exposure, an “exposure” to you remains a more fitting term than this merely being another “picture” of you. A“picture” conveys a control of surface. It screens its subject as though a show; it exercises a technical prowess. Excises detail to perform as a product fit for purpose or sale. It proposes a sense that this is about control rather than contact. You could be a young woman or a small boy. The detail feels unimportant. We’re reaching for a joke—for a minute where someone finds something funny; looking to come up against an object of attention. A gestural expression, a movement, a human leaning in as a fixed work of art. Maybe it’s a good thing that the arts are at our fingertips. Maybe exposure isn’t the right word at all, but that perhaps we’re up against a proliferation instead. You can turn anything into a Madonna. Into the melodrama of an unknown entity. Whatever the case, I repeat my themes. Again, again, again and again. As a photograph of exposure, this is not a photograph of that but a photograph of something else. Of a brief arrangement rather than a contract. Of a failure to apportion complete control of a subject; to elicit anything more than the suggestion of a look. Like a person pulling the shape of a vase of flowers, if I had been sitting then, now I’m standing, and I am closer to you than I was. Looking for a little light. This is not to say that this gesture is taking command of any familiarity, but that we’re dealing instead with an exchange of authoritative actions. Mine and yours. It’s a picture of proximity, rather than intimacy. A failure to picture encroaching distances is a picture of exposure or its lack. There’ll only be you in the room. If this is competitive, then you are winning, and a photograph of raking light shouldn’t be a competition. It should be a picture of the various definitions of exposure.

This text was written as an element of Hoagy Houghton’s audio work ‘Radio Photograph’ and broadcast as an element of the annual Radiophrenia season of events and performances at CCA Glasgow. Commissioned alongside writings by Jon Auman, Karin Bähler Lavér and Jolyon Houghton, ‘Radio Photograph’ was broadcast at 2:30pm, August 31st, 2016 on a temporary radio station run by Creative Scotland and CCA Glasgow, broadcasting on 87.9FM, August 29th to September 11th, 2016. The project was comprised of a series of audio descriptions of four of Houghton’s photographic works which were made visible only to each individual author.