Updated: Apr 25, 2019
Slade is the only harbour on the peninsula and any stranger, arriving by sea, would arrive here. In the original ghost story this is where the devil brings his ship to dock. This photograph initially was pre-visualised and pre-planned as the representation of a stranger arriving over the ocean’s horizon from a land far away. I knew also that I wanted a starburst effect to refer to Helena’s concept of Lucifer or the Morning Star. The way to create this effect is to use a small lens aperture. Every f-stop from f8-f22 was used to get just the right amount of point light source diffraction. The light in question is of course the Hook Lighthouse. I had noticed on one of my many camera less reconnoitres of the area that when walking South along Slade lane the lantern of the lighthouse sits pretty much on the horizon. One of those things you make a mental note of without having any idea how you might one day use this arrangement of visual elements. The eye tends to travel around this one in a bit of a spiral. It is naturally drawn to the lightest portion of the image and then starts to scan the foreground before heading up to the dark grey of the sky. This is a very simple image, photography is all about reduction, subtraction and simplification and I think this is why this particular photograph works. It was my intention to try and create something as close as possible to an 8 pointed star, but this is of course impossible with the 9 bladed diaphragm of the Nikkor 16-35 f4 lens I was using. Shooting every aperture gave me the option to find the best compromise. It would have been all too easy to dip into PhotoShop and create exactly what I wanted, but this to me is an intervention too far. I try always to restrict my image manipulations to what is achievable in the darkroom. To do more in some way, seems to me anyhow, a bit dishonest. The real magic of photography is to some extent creating images from the reality before the lens and this in my opinion, means a degree of truth in the photograph. How very old-fashioned of me.
Why all that faffing to try and produce an 8 pointed star?
The significance of this star is explored in great detail by Helena B. in Chapter 11 - Occult Truths, in #Loftus - The Hall of Dreams.
If you want to know the significance you’ll have to buy the book! ;-)