Two recent projects that I have completed, as a part of my studies, have given me a boost. They are the beginnings of the kind of photography that I wish to make. A Hermits Journey (here) is a narrative that expressed part of my current life experiences, and combined text with photography. Sick of Bulimia (seen here) is a conceptual sequence exploring that particular eating disorder.
A Hermits Journey
The snow provided me with the opportunity to make photos which could convey the mood that I was looking to express, and the use text gave me the oportunity to present a visual and emotional journey. There were two influences that I used to help me to develop the idea for this work. Chloe Halstead, an OCA Photography and Creative Arts degree student, has produced Snippets, for assignment three. Snippets is a photograph (which can be seen here) that has text written onto it. The text is snippets of conversations that she heard. The narrative is broken in respect that brief glimpses of heard conversation do not provide a continuous narrative, but viewing the progress of her assignment sparked the potential for using text as a part of photography, rather than only as an introduction to a series.
Telling Stories by Judy Bach (seen here) has been an incredible experience to view. The story is told from a first person perspective and begins with the narrator, Florence Fountain, finding a box of photos in her mothers former home. Using appropriated and found images, Bach has developed a story which explores Florence’s family history. The use of photography and text has been both emotionally moving and convincing. Telling Stories was produced by Bach for Assignment Five Digital Image and Culture (seen here).
My initial plan was to create a sequence that was purely a physical journey, but as I began my walk I realised that I could take the opportunity to express a little of who I am and what the journey represents to me. Whilst I was walking I considered what I would like to say in relation to the scenes that I was photographing. A five hour walk left me with a lot of photos, and the selection process wasn’t easy. However, because I had considered the personal importance of the scenes as I was photographing them, some sections were quite straight forward.
Sick of Bulimia
The conceptual sequence that I produced for exercise 3.3, Sick of Bulimia, is photography that I am very proud to have produced. The idea has been nurtured over many months, with test photos taken last year. Having reviewed Self Burial by Keith Arnatt (seen here) I returned to my ideas in relation to bulimia, and decided to develop this into a conceptual sequence. The power of Sick of Bulimia is due, in my opinion, to my personal experiences. The photos are an expression of my emotions and thought patterns, and the emotion is evident in the series.
Two key learning points come across from these projects; Studying the developmental process of other photographers is a key to learning to turn an idea into a body of work. Halstead and Bach’s work has included reasearch, experimentation, development of ideas, critique from peers and tutors, re-working and excluding some photography that did not work. The other point is that photography which I have an emotional connection to, and that I feel passionate about, will be of higher quality and be more evocative than work that I approach nonchalantly.
Colour vs Content
I follow many student blogs and I recent commented upon the learning log of OCA photography degree student Tanya Keane. She was comparing two photos from groups on opposing sides of the abortion debate (eighth amendment) in the Republic of Ireland. The comment that I had made was in regard to the exposure of the two photos (seen here). Keane disagreed with my reflection and explained why. This gave me an opportunity to explore in some detail my confusion about colour, vibrance and exposure.
I am drawn to colour. You will see me out and about in blue, red, purple, green and other coloured trousers, and my jumpers and shirts are always colourful (not that they often go together). Much of my previous photography has been high contrast, colourful and with added vibrance. One comment that I received a while ago was that a photo looked like it had been processed as HDR, it wasnt, but I do produce similar photography with the use of Lightroom. How I view photography is affected by this. My initial attraction is to colour, and then progresses onto the content.
Once I had completed my presentation for Sick of Bulimia, I sought critique and feed back, and it was suggested that I try different layouts, and a white background instead of the midtone grey in the original. The photos with the white background appeared brighter and were more prominent, however the series with the grey background meant that I felt drawn into the photos, and connected with them on a deeper level. I can make use of this practical experience to guide me with developing photographs in the future.
Frame of reference when viewing photography
We all have a personal belief system that has developed from our experiences. My mental and emotion frame of reference informs how I view the world around me. Having realised the importance of making photography that means something to me, which is developed from my frame of reference, I have discovered where there can also be a drawback.
Viewing others photography from my own frame of reference is completely natural, and I particularly enjoy reviewing the work of photographers. Once I have written my initial thoughts, I try to get into the photographers head and see what they are wanting to convey. I fall short of the mark but it helps me to see things from a viewpoint which is different from mine. My frame of reference is humanistic, ideological, left-wing and sometimes borders on anti-establishment. This is limiting when it comes to analysing the photography of others who have created their art from a different internal construct. To have realised this at an early stage of my studies is very useful indeed, and will broaden how I relate to the work of other photographers, and hopefully make me a more rounded individual.
Bach, J; 2018; Assignment Five Digital Image and Culture; Online AT: https://judybachdigitalimageandculture.wordpress.com/category/assignments/assignment-5/ (accessed on 10/03/2018)
Bach, J; 2018; Telling Stories; Online AT: https://tellingstoriesmyfamily.wordpress.com/ (accessed on 10/03/2018)
Keane, T; 2018; Two very different images taken from the media; Online AT: https://tkocalevel3.wordpress.com/2018/02/01/research-for-contextual-studies/ (accessed on 10/03/2018)
Halstead, C; 2018; Assignment Three handwriting; Online AT: https://chloeslenscape.wordpress.com/2018/02/07/assignment-three-handwriting/ (accessed on 10/03/2018)