For several years I considered getting a smart phone, this year I finally upgraded to a Samsung Galaxy S3. An Android device with 8mp camera and a ‘panorama’ feature which stitches together a set of images. I’ve tried various typical panorama images, but soon found myself playing with vertical panoramas.
The image on the left was taken on the River Deben path near Woodbridge, Suffolk, UK, my local escape route from the confines of crowded public spaces. The panorama is done by starting from a certain point of view, then pointing the phone/camera in an arc. As it detects the edge of each image it takes another. There are guide lines showing the required frame for subsequent images, and by shifting the lens until each framed guideline is positioned, the image is automatically captured. I wondered how to use such a tall image and realised text scans vertically, in European writing, from top to bottom. This vertical arrangement was a favourite philosophy of my French friend ‘Arno’, who often attempted to explain, in French, the concept of ‘temps vertique’ – an altered model of time – vertical time. He would exclaim, temps vertique, fire, smoke, it goes upwards, trees, they grow upwards, raising his hands aloft in a rhetorical gesture. Life, it progresses upwards, he said, looking at me as if it was so obvious and profound. Vertical time as an egg timer, time does not move onwards into the future, instead, Arno insisted it moves vertically. This sounded impressive, heard through the haze of a few glasses of wine and the blank slate naivety of my French comprehension. ‘Loba’ is my cairn terrier of seven years. We have walked the River Deben path many, many times, in sun and snow, on empty Monday mornings, when most people are at work. On 2am night walks, when the stars brim with presence and the wind is asleep. On Saturday afernoons, when visitors and locals inhabit the narrow path, boxing me in to frequent trivial confrontations, as they approach in groups of three or four, heedless of a person and little dog approaching, forcing us off into the long grass to get around them. The night walks and Monday mornings are best, that is when my path is all mine and a vertiginous future looms overhead in plain view. Without the limiting play of public path etiquette, of other people in their horizontal time frames.