Reflections on my Shadow Super 8 30 minutes colour silent 1980 / short extract

This film about light was shot using a hand held Super 8 camera. Utilizing the cameras fade in/out mechanism it explores the appearance and disappearance of my shadow within the landscape, mirroring the ‘fade in/out’ processes of nature. A visual interaction and ‘shadow play’ was opened up between film maker, camera and nature.

The cameras ‘fade in’ mechanism was used to fade into a scene/location at a time when the sun was hidden behind the clouds, in anticipation of seeing my shadow cast when the sun reappeared. When my shadow appeared the camera was held in a fixed position for the duration in which the sun shone directly. After my shadow had disappeared, the camera ‘fade out’ was used to return to darkness, this was repeated in different situations and locations. The duration of each take was therefore determined by the time in which my shadow remained visible in frame. A series of locations and scenarios was selected to include different textures, surfaces and other natural phenomena. This enabled me to experiment with the different ‘visual qualities of shadow’ and ‘degrees of fade’ – for example the visual phenomenon experienced when my shadow was cast onto my reflected image on water/mirror surface. This raises a question of representation, as to whether these merged images are a ‘reflection on my shadow’ or ‘shadow on my reflection’?

The film starts with the interior space of my room and is then filmed in different locations on Wimbledon Common and the Isle of Wight. The film then ends with an interior section filmed back in my room of the surface of my mirror with my shadow appearing and disappearing on my reflection.

Chance and unpredictability played an intrinsic part in the making this film and set an interesting challenge as it was all shot in camera without external editing. On occasions my shadow did not appear or at least not at the exact time of the camera ‘fade in’, which resulted in a period of waiting in anticipation. At other times it did not disappear completely but become almost indiscernible visually, before ‘fading out’ with the camera.

This film processes used to make this film could as be considered as a metaphor for the ‘shadow play’ of cinematic representation itself.