Cantona, and the Final Artistamps

Do you remember a fine French footballer by the name of Eric Cantona? He was a genius. He helped Leeds Utd and then Manchester United win a lot of games, sometimes seemingly all by himself, and then when he was still young by footballers standards he announced that he’d be retiring at the end of the season. He’d been playing like a dog for the past few months, he explained, he was no longer the footballer he used to be. He was quitting before it all got ugly.

I really admired Cantona for that. It takes a lot of self awareness and guts to not kick the arse out of something. I have personally often carried on projects well past their sell by date, through fear and desperation as much as anything else, but I’ve always remembered Cantona and thought his was a fine way to act, if only one could.

Last night I developed my latest batch of artistamp. Here are the results.sigiriya 002

If you look closely, you’ll see that most of them are complete failures. I’ve gone from having a 75% success rate to something like a 15 to 20% success rate.

I’ve not been feeling too great recently about my photography. I haven’t been happy with my output. So I looked at this latest batch of Artistamp and thought, ok, I’m in a strange country with different light but still, no reason to let myself off the hook about this, I’ve got a bit shit recently and there’s no hiding from it. What to do?

I studied the only Artistamps that came out ok. They were taken at Glencairn Estate, which was the former home of Julia Margaret Cameron, the great Victorian photographer.  These ones show her house, the window of the church where she is buried, a flower in her garden at sunset and a table in her entrance hallway.

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And these show the stairs to her bedroom, the waiter at Glencairn and the church where Cameron is buried.

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Every photo I took in Sri Lanka after the church came out wrong. Every single one. So it seemed a good enough point to call a halt at. If the last Artistamp I took was of the church where Cameron was buried, well, it was a fitting end to an interesting experiment.

I was going to throw the camera in the bin but then I remembered the Lost Art project by Leslie McAllister. You can learn more about it here -

Leslie finds materials in the street, paints onto them and then leaves the painting where she found the materials, for passers by to pick up and enjoy. A fine idea, I think.

So today Lamia and I climbed the 5th century rock fortress of Sigiriyia, here in Sri Lanka. We got to the very top, the King’s bedroom, and just down from that, on the stairway leading to the Kings throne, I suddenly thought about Leslie and the Lost Art project and decided to leave my camera for somebody else to claim and enjoy.

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It had a fine view of the world.

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Perhaps some passer by will pick it up, maybe they already have, and have as much fun with it as I have had in the past. I hope so.

Thanks Leslie, for the inspiration! And thanks Artistamp.

Time for something new.

3 Responses to "Cantona, and the Final Artistamps"

  1. Ohh, no! ;-(

  2. If you look closely, you’ll see that most of them are complete failures. I’ve gone from having a 75% success rate to something like a 15 to 20% success rate.

    David…I am excited that you are only having a 15 to 20% success rate! Because this means you are on the verge of something exciting!! ( and no I am not being silly) Usually in life when things suck bile or don’t go’s because there is a U turn up ahead we cannot see….your photography is brilliant!! So just keep on doing what you do and it will continue to be wonderful!!

    • davidwiseuk

      Thanks Jennifer :)