Cascade. Watershed. Thin ice. Stream of. It’s all so obvious: water as metaphor; river as metaphor. Water makes good metaphor not because it is like anything else but simply because it is water. And water has its true nature and that true nature is, by definition, change.
It may seem as if these are pictures of rivers and other bodies of water. Yet they are not pictures of; they are direct records. They are inverse forms made not only from water but also from shadows, and occasional leaves, and branches, and sand, and stones. That we can never step into the same river twice is at once both trite and profound and, if not either or both, true. No visual record or experiment makes this more clear than Susan Derges’s photograms. A Year ago, when first presenting the work to us she said, “Every time I go to the river it is different.”
Walking along the river, throwing sticks to Badger and Tessa (Border collies of the highest order), one sees the river and does not, knows the river and does not. Derges’s pictures trace a path untracable, as water runs into sea, as winter turns into spring, as if we could remember any of it, when remembering it is no longer what it is about, but rather seeing it once forever changing in a world of shadow and time.—from the preface by Frish Brandt