— A bit of a departure for me but I have been working on this for the last couple of years believe it or not. The new series of work is called God & Man (after Leopold Godowsky & Leopold Mannes who invented Kodachrome in 1935). The original source material is taken off the internet as extremely low resolution digital files, printed at a high street lab then re-photographed / double exposed onto Kodachrome and then printed again on Cibachrome.

Primarily it’s meant to be a bookending of colour photography through maybe the most cliched (and unifying?) photographic image of all time, the sunset / sunrise. I think I mentioned to you before that these last years I have been struggling more and more with adding to that slag heap of photographs we all moan about and are implicated in and that I had been touched by Joachim Schmidt when he said something like ‘no more photographs till all the old ones have been used up’.

The idea first came to me when I woke from a sleep on a long haul flight and looked out the window onto a crazy beautiful sunset (or a sunrise I can’t remember and it doesn’t matter really, though they are quite different visually… something to do with the particles in the evening air refracting light I think) but you know it was one of those times on a plane when all is still and dark, everyone asleep and then you open the shutter a touch and BOOM straight to the brain. That line from Bladerunner came to mind… you know when Rutger Hauer says ‘I have seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the darkā€¦‘. It took me back to a rave south of England early nineties (Is this the way they say the futures meant to feel or just 20,000 people standing in a field. JC) when I took three purple microdots and amongst other things over the course of a long night, hid from the Viet Cong up trees in deep jungle and watched monolithic skyscrapers grow up to the stars before collapsing in on themselves turning the world inside out in a psychedelic demolition day bathed in (what I remember as… don’t you hate it when people bang on about their trips?) red and orange apocalyptic twilight. Life changer. Deep breath.

Well back to the plane window and it got me thinking how much I would like to make a fuck off 35mm film of this endorphin triggering, awe inspiring, (forgive me brother) spiritual / I am but a speck in the Universe experience… but lacking the conviction to fill out an Arts Council application for the hire of a Boeing 747 and a film crew I thought I would take the punk / DIY cheapo approach and make one myself from images I found on Flickr and Google (there about 20 million plus easy). So I scoured the internet and found / stole / appropriated the tiny little files I liked the look of (people put them on very low resolution so they can’t be reused ha ha) printed them and loved them for the way they broke down and then re-photographed them on a rostrum camera onto slide (liked the mix up of analogue and digital, pixel & grain) and tried to figure out a slide dissolve… which after much dicking about didn’t really work. From this I got into the idea of double exposure (the original amateur photographer trick no photoshop… back to basics and also quite filmic). Then I started printing them and realised that this absolutely needed to be analogue so it had to be Cibachrome (which is a dye destruction process with high archival quality and coincidently far more environmentally friendly than other colour processes… also more or less extinct).

The final and most important decision was that I needed to use Kodachrome as it had just been announced that Kodak was ceasing production of what was the first mass marketed colour film. So back to the computer and to Ebay where I bought the film, which once exposed was sent off to the last lab on earth processing it, Dwaynes Photos in Kansas, USA. From these I have the prints made (72 x 48 inch)… and add to the slag heap after all.

In the bohemian tradition Gareth McConnell is attempting to cast off the fetters of bourgeois ideology. He has no home, no studio, no agent, no gallery and is currently with his family on an island in South East Asia en route to Australia.

Gareth McConnell, from the series
GOD & MAN 2009