© 2021 David Parker

Night Sea Journeys

"We cannot think of a time that is oceanless
Or of an ocean not littered with wastage
Or of a future that is not liable
Like the past, to have no destination."

This series records the meandering passages of sea vessels at night, from small coastal fishing craft to ocean-going leviathans. During long exposures, some up to 10 hours, their navigation lights trace the sometimes erratic paths of each vessel's forward motion together with the oscillations of the sea swells.

The sea at night is unseen by most of us. For the solitary mariner casting his nets in moonlight the sea is both the 'Old Mother', giving up her bounty, and Proteus, the elusive primordial trickster god of sea changes, ever present and indifferent to the foundered sailor.

At night therefore the sea becomes mare incognita. Looking down into its blackness is metaphorically an immersion in the waters of the unconscious or the experience of being swallowed by the whale. It is also the dark night of the soul experienced by Christian mystics.

"...at his back was the dark night with the clear stars, whose distant glitter disposed in retreating planes lured the eye into the depths of a greater darkness..."