12Hz is about human perception of the ungraspable scale of earth's rawest materiality - 12Hz is the lowest sound threshold of human hearing. As the project statement on Jude's website states: 'It suggests imperceptible forces, from plate tectonics to the ocean tides, from cycles of growth and decay in the forest, to the incomprehensibility of geological spans of time'. By comparison to Jude's grand-scale images of lava fields, gorges and coastlines, my own work operates on a smaller, more centralised plane, nonetheless, there are a similarities; the call to witness and homage to nature, the allusion to human capabilities, and in its questioning of the reciprocity and accountability of human relations with nature. Leah Ollman stated of 12Hz: 'these photographs induce the requisite wonder and gratitude to spur a much-needed sense of accountability. (Ollman, 2018), or as Jude puts it as an 'acknowledgement of a desire to gain a broader perspective, beyond the human enterprise, in a time of ecological and political crisis' (Jude, 2016).
Jude aligns this work with the ethos of the Dark Mountain Project - a cultural movement born out of Paul Kingsnorth and Dougald Hine's manifesto of the same title. The principals of the Dark Mountain Project / Movement are the 'urgent conviction' that mediation of nature needs to shun “the myth of human centrality,” and “re-engage with the non-human world.” Jude states his work subsequently questions 'how does one depict the indifference of the non-human world to our egocentrism and folly without simply offering false comfort by looking away from our reckless actions? Is it possible to engage the landscape in a meaningful way without resorting to formal trivialities, moralizing or personal narrative?'
This is interesting because it ties in with principles of evading cultural representation of nature which I am trying to achieve with my own work. This objective, 'straight' photographic strategy is also found in the work of Daniel Gustav Cramer and Awoiska van der Molen, both of which I have referred to previously in this respect (see here and here) and in relation to Vilem Flusser's notions of freeing photographs from the 'programs of the camera' - turning the camera on itself and letting 'nature photographing itself' (Mulder, 2017). Jude images fall straight into the objective category, and it makes me assess the objectiveness of my own work; I consider my images objective, they do not offer nature as any kind of spectacle - I am photographing nature as is, how I find it, in a detached gaze. However, there is a context of human relationships with nature in the actual work via the inclusion of hermitage cells and this gives identity to some of the images, does this allude to cultural representation and thus void the definition of objective? Whilst not naming the actual hermitage sites, they are surely recognisable to some people, so are they anonymous? (see more about this here and here). I am confused if this is an actual context of my work and the work is still non-human, or the work remains objective through its eventlessness and lack of chronological context or sequential narrative? Maybe the work falls somewhere in a murky inbetween and doesnt need to outrightly qualify as one or another, afterall, there are no written in stone rules as to what is and what isn't an objective photograph.
• Jude, Ron. 2016. 12Hz. Ron Jude [online] Available at: http://ronjude.com/12-hz-2016 [Accessed: 16.08.21].
• Mulder, Arjen. 2017. Larger Than Light. Published in ‘Blanco’ by Awoiska van der Molen. Available at: https://www.awoiska.nl/var/upload/essay_mulder_nl_eng.pdf [accessed: 22.08.21]
• Ollman, Leah. 2018. Review: Ron Jude’s jaw-dropping photographs at Gallery Luisotti put the awe back in awesome. Los Angeles Time [online] Available at: https://www.latimes.com/entertainment/arts/museums/la-et-cm-ron-jude-20180924-story.html [Accessed: 16.08.21]
• The Dark Mountain Project. 2009. The Manifesto. [online] Available at: https://dark-mountain.net/about/manifesto/. [Accessed: 16.08.21].