Hello. You can find out more about my books, films, articles, radio series, and live events at the books page. There’s cutting-edge news at currents. And other short posts via the sharks, surfers, and optics sections, depending on your mood. Come in and browse; the water’s lovely.

J.M. Booth, 1932, mako shark, Whangaroa. British Museum.
Note the nice thumb print on the negative.

The historian Alvin M Josephy (in The Indian Heritage of America, 1968) offers the term Ha yeak, which, in Tlingit, a language of the North-west Pacific coast, means “the hollow left in shallow water by a swiftly swimming shark”. An elegant, ominous concept, which is just about right for how I think of the object occupying the vehicle / shark space: there’s something there, just near the surface, that we can’t see directly. Ha yeak is a site of turbulence or interplay between absence and presence – a body was here and made a not-thing, a gap – and it’s a concept that summons the passage of time into the situation: we now see and understand the place where something no longer is. We read the shark’s proximity from the hollow; we know it was here, but it’s gone. But it’s still near, lurking; some things won’t go away.

– from my article Sharks; Circling, from Full Stop Magazine, March, 2000.

photo: Alex Hamilton; thumb-print: also Alex Hamilton