Poet-photographer Michael Fallon shared plans for upcoming book
Michael Fallon, poet and photographer, shared sections of his upcoming book, Last Wings Dreaming of Sky, a collection of shots that were taken while on walks with his wife, Ruth.
“Black flames against a white sky…primal scream in wood,” said Michael Fallon while an ominous photograph of a maple tree illuminated a screen. As the audience pored over the photographs, Fallon’s calming voice echoed in the background.
On April 15, with his wife Ruth sitting by his side, Fallon shared a select few of his poems to a group of UMBC students. UMBC faculty also attended this event. Fallon is planning to write a book of poems inspired by his photographs taken on walks with his wife.
Fallon’s work has no specific theme. Whatever subjects he finds interesting, whether they be plastic bottles, water meters, tree trunks, the sky or even shadows are selected.
Like most poets, Fallon writes about the images that he is attracted to. Trees are something that he finds intriguing, and is known to love to photograph. He chalks it up to the Gaelic traditions of his Irish blood. “[Trees] look like sculptures or even human forms,” Fallon said. When working on his new book, he tried to resist only including trees in order to have more variety.
Fallon had an eclectic group of images in his presentation. A photograph of a water meter caught the attention of the audience. Fallon went on to explain that he didn’t think anything of it at first, until he took a double take and found it perfect. “We didn’t even say a word, we had to go back,” said Ruth.
It is evident that Fallon has an ingenious way of thinking. At one point, the presentation showed a photograph of an abandoned water bottle with condensation covering the outside. He titled this piece, “Trapped Jewels,” and described the condensation as tears. The last line of the poem reads, “I wonder what happens to the tears as we walk past.”
By the way each individual kept their eyes glued to the images, and the amount of commentary following the presentation, it was evident that his work was very moving.
Jenny O’Grady, the second speaker of the lecture, saw that combining words with illustration offered a whole new dynamic. “I thought it was amazing that I could concentrate on an image while I heard [Fallon’s] voice,” she said.
Regardless of all the praise, Fallon is still his own critic. Since this book is a work in progress, he finds some of his photographs less effective than others. While describing a photograph of a lake, he wished that he could go back and get a shot of it in a different light. This comment prompted audience questions regarding manipulation of the photographs.
However, one of the fascinating aspects to his photographs is the lack of editing. Other than the occasional cropping, no enhancements are made to the images.
What to take away from Fallon’s work is the idea that photographs take on a whole new meaning and value when combined with poetic imagery. These rhythmic words provide life to the image and tell a story. Fallon’s new book, Last Wings Dreaming of Sky will tell his.