W.G. Sebald (1)

I spent the morning in the exhibition Lines of Sight: W.G. Sebald’s East Anglia in the Norwich Castle Museum, which resurrects and helps one to analyse the complex process of transmogrification which occurred between Sebald’s own photographs of East Anglia, which are mostly quite dull, had they not been taken by him as visual records of the long walk he took in August 1992 and of the way they were then converted into more memorable, often cropped images by Michael Brandon-Jones, the photographer in the Art History Photographic Collection in UEA. He it was who turned the images into black-and-white in such a way that they could be used alongside postcards, book illustrations and archival images throughout the text of The Rings of Saturn, and which are so important to its atmosphere of historical and topographical suggestiveness.

These are the instructions which Sebald gave to Brandon-Jones on the printing of his photographs:-

And this is his list of the order in which the photographs were to appear:-

This is the picture of Sebald setting out for his walk which was used for the cover of the first German edition:-

One of the best and most unexpected things in the exhibition is a clip of a film made by Kenneth Griffith about Roger Casement which caused Sebald to fall asleep in his green velvet armchair when it was first broadcast on 28th. October 1992. It’s in a style of suggestive and poetic documentary film making which is nowadays unimaginable, but not surprising that Sebald admired it.


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