Ian Talbot: Retrospective – Bloody Finger : Fingering The Edge

Chapter IX of the ongoing series Ian Talbot : Retrospective by British fine art photographer Ian Talbot.

Bloody Finger : Fingering The Edge

© Ian Talbot

“And the priest shall dip his finger in the blood, and sprinkle of the blood seven times before the LORD, before the vail of the sanctuary.” Leviticus 4:6

    Though not of the faith, I have Jewish blood in my veins passed down to me by my matrineal Jewish great grandmother. This, of course, doesn’t make me Jewish it merely means I have a some, albeit small, Jewish heritage. Neither am I strictly speaking a Christian, nevertheless it is a heritage that all of us in the West share, living in a society based on the Judaeo-Christian tradition.

    Undoubtedly for some, or indeed many, concepts of ritual are an alluring part of any organised religion and encourage a sense of belonging. Also, to some extent, we all have our own small rituals which go to make up the daily practices of our personal lifestyles. Perhaps there is something in the human soul that finds comfort in such daily ritualistic practices. Maybe it’s the attraction of the familiar.

    Whatever one’s personal beliefs, however, it is the undeniable case that the King James Authorised Version of the Bible represents some of the most beautiful and powerful writing in the English language. Contemporary with, and the equal of, Shakespeare.

    Before I made the image here I had already decided on the title of my overall self portrait project… “Fingering The Edge”. While in my kitchen thawing out a frozen lamb’s heart I was poking about in it to ascertain whether it had fully thawed out. As soon as I saw my gorily bloody finger I knew there was an image to fit the project. Blood is such a deeply ingrained part of our self identity and the use of blood in ritual has proven irresistibly alluring for many, if not most, religious practices throughout all of human history. The Biblical quote here was found after the fact of the image itself. I thought it fitted well in this case…

    If the image looks complex or deliberately lit… it isn’t. I merely held my finger up out back in flatly lit open shade and shot it hand held in my free hand with a macro lens. The overall “look” of the image is the result of some judicious post processing. I had, however, pre-visualised exactly how it would look before ever I even picked the camera up. That is the way I always work and in that respect this image was certainly no different.

    Ian Talbot

    Text & image © Ian Talbot

Next week
Stubborn Breasts : Words

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