My Work in Sketches.
Philippa Ndisi-Herrmann //
An Aesthete. An Artist. An African //
A FILMMAKER & PHOTOGRAPHER //
Kashmiri, Lamu, August 2013
© Philippa Ndisi-Herrmann
Today - Rosemary, Kibera, Nairobi
A baptism at the shore’s of the Indian Ocean. Lamu island is predominantly Muslim.
© Philippa Ndisi-Herrmann
(C) PHILIPPA NDISI-HERRMANN
A Music Video by Ayako Bertolli and I -
Very Necessary - Necessary Noize & the Teichmann Brothers
"I am made of long shadows and falling leaves. I am in every sigh and every breath. I am in every contraction and expansion. I am bare feet and two souls and both heart and stone. I am burning fire and equal portions of joy and sorrow. Our hearts beat like the flapping of birds’ wings.
I am outsider in my own land but I am loved and understood. I am the birth and death of love and the death and birth of love. I am a bird falling and I am a bird that finds flight.”
- Philippa Ndisi-Herrmann
The Revolution of My Heart
Yesterday, beside the rough seas of the Indian Ocean, I was fortunate to see the journey newly hatched turtles make to the sea.
I keep wondering where each turtle is now – how deep are they in the heart of the ocean? Do they feel alone or are they too hypnotised by the magnetism of the dancing sea? Yesterday I learnt the following:
Turtles make love in the ocean. The female turtle leaves her oceanic existence at night to nest her eggs within the sand then she returns to the water. A nest can consist of 60/100 eggs. The turtles incubate until the right time. Each turtle rests within their own egg. Each egg is a globe, each globe a world, each world a universe. After 45/70 nights the turtles hatch, it takes some days for them to dig their way to the surface of the sand. Together, but alone they pace their way steadily to the hungry ocean. Each turtle experiences the first moment of being engulfed by the arms of the waves. Once encompassed by its saltiness, the turtle paddles the sea for the first time. 1 of 500 hatched turtles will survive. A turtle will never meet his or her mother. When the female turtle is ready, she will return to the very spot of her birth, to give birth to her own offspring.
Memory is the only machine I have to revisit the past and it is the only vehicle I have to be with people whom are no longer with me. To me, memory is as real as it is unreal.
Returning to the past is as easy as it is difficult. Sometimes I cannot remember your face, then at other times, when I am not searching for you, you fall into me; I find you within the leaves of the tall tree framed by the size of my window.
My memory is a fundamental pillar in understanding myself. My cohabitation with it, is not just driven by mere nostalgia. My constant dissection, deconstruction and reconstruction of my own memories aids in orientating my present and future. I visit my memories in the hope that I can refine the meaning of my life, in order to finally decipher my own existence and unfold my own myth.
Perhaps it is my tenacious relationship with memory that navigates my need to photograph.
I capture images for two reasons; I photograph in order to honor life; I remain in awe of the immortalization of an entire lifetime in a split second. Another reason I photograph is to articulate the inexplicable. Perhaps this is my contribution to my society. Each time I put the camera to my eye, I pray that I will find an image that encapsulates some nuance of an ever-returning saudade.
I believe that both a portrait and abstract photograph can be equal to each other as a form of documentation. I photograph on 35mm film. I believe that analogue photography is as close to our own human experience of capturing an experience. The impression of a moment onto the silver halide salts of celluloid is akin to the impression of a moment onto our full and empty hearts and minds.
Deciphering life through memory and photography may take my lifetime or more. I am fed small pieces. The process is abrasive. I create cornerstones in order to summon you back. I don’t remember everything I want, I can no longer remember the shape of your eyes. What I remember of you may solely be the bend of your wrist, the fall of your hair, your steady gaze, the shadows that danced on the ground that day, the indifference of the branches that stood tall and the shake of their leaves. You are everywhere and nowhere, within every detail and within each blur.
I search for your face in my mind’s eye. I don’t find you. You are no longer here. My memory is leaving me.
" Memory takes a lot of poetic license. It omits some details; others are exaggerated according to the emotional value of the articles it touches, for memory is seated predominately in the heart. "
The Glass Menagerie - Tennessee Williams
(Source: wordsthatmoveme, via movesinvokesinspires)
Ayako and I have been collaborating creatively since 2011, however we have been extremely slow in making our work public. Our collaborative work is called “Ayako + Fish.” There is more to come.
Jewellery by Ayako Bertolli
Model: Njeri Gitungo
Model: Khadija Abdi
This image keeps growing on me, day by day, by day
A Swarm of Birds -