I really appreciate all of the kind words, wishes and comments upon my last post. Since returning home I have rested deeply, and haven’t checked WordPress nor Instagram, I’ve allowed myself to switch off, and build my model aeroplane.
Although I am feeling better than I was I’m still very tired. Getting checked up by the Dr has confirmed my blood pressure is low and that the anaemia has worsened, which are as a result of anorexia.
I am going to take my time in replying to people’s comments over the next few days, and although I wont be able to catch up with your past posts, I will endeavour to read current ones as and when I can.
The good news is that my referral to the eating disorders day centre has gone through, funding has been approved, so fingers crossed that they will accept me. In the mean time I increased my calories again on Saturday.
Here are a few photos of reflections that I took whilst in London. I came to realise that central London could easily be known as The Glass City. It’s everywhere. It was useful preparation for one of the exercise coming up in part 4 of Foundations in Photography. There is a Starbucks very close by, which meant that I could recharge my lapstop whilst I was having a break.
For those of you who know me, you will understand that I struggle with street photography. It’s my least favourite genre, but as a photographer it’s important to push myself.
Here are a few photos from the previous couple of days. Click on any photo to see a full size image.
On the way home from my interview at the University for the Creative Arts in April, I had a few hours in London.
St Paul’s Cathedral and Millenium Bridge
St Paul’s Cathedral
Kings Cross Station
Houses of Parliament
The London Eye
The women of world war II
Field Marshal Earl Haig
Nelson’s Column and Trafalgar Square
St Pancras Station
In preparation for exercise 3.5 Photographs from text we are asked to take a look at “Signs that say what you want them to say and not signs that say what someone else wants you too say”.
Gillian Wearing (OBE) (1963)
Fig. 1. I have been certified as mildly insane… (1993-3)
Fig. 2. I signed on and they would not give me nothing (1992-3)
Fig. 3. Work towards peace (1992-3)
For this series Gillian worked with members of the public, requesting the opportunity to photograph them, and asked if they would write something pertinent to them on a large piece of paper. It’s a very clever concept, but also very simple. Its a collaborative process that allowed her to produce an image with the people that she photographed, rather than taking photos of them. She photographed people from varying walks of life, gender, race, sexuality, and the result is a series of photos where all are equal. They are equal because they have all been allowed to speak for themselves.
It reinforces to me what I have just read in The Civil Contract of Photography, in which Azoulay states “Anyone who addresses others through photographs or takes the position of a photographers addressee, even if she is a stateless person who has lost her “right to have rights… is nevertheless a citizen – a member in the citizenry of photography” (Azoulay, A; 2008; pp85). She goes on to discuss that the viewer is also a citizen of photography and that we are all involved and participate in the photo and its understanding of it, especially so in documentary/reportage/disaster/conflict photography.
Wearing’s approach is a very interesting one and it makes me think about how often this occurs, especially in comparison with mainstream documentary or reportage photography. Generally a photographer, who is working for a media outlet or other interested party, will have a brief and a duty to take photos according to the taste/politics/demands of the editor or organisation. How often do photographed people have the opportunity to consent to having their photograph taken, let alone to be a co-author?
The approach makes me consider my own photography in relation to the genres of street and events. I have worked with direct consent where I have explained my studies to people and gained their permission to make their portrait, at events I have worked on assumed consent, in which people are fully aware that photographers are around, and if they try to hide their face then I do not photograph them, and I have also taken some street photography without consent. This is not to say that any style is better, or correct, they all have their value, but I do like Wearing’s style, which is an approach that I have made use of for a project with homeless people (although I asked them what they would like to say to accompany their photo, rather than providing them with the means to write their own words) (Keys, R; 2018).
This is not an approach that I will be using for exercise 3.5 but certainly one that I would like to build upon in the future, and my tutor and I have discussed this previously.
Figure 1; Wearing, G; 1992-3; I have been certified as mildly insane… [chromogenic print on paper]; AT: http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/wearing-signs-that-say-what-you-want-them-to-say-and-not-signs-that-say-what-someone-else-66092/5 (accessed on 12/05/2018)
Figure 2; Wearing, G; 1992-3; I signed on and they would not give me nothing [chromogenic print on paper]; http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/wearing-signs-that-say-what-you-want-them-to-say-and-not-signs-that-say-what-someone-else-66092/3
Figure 3; Wearing, G; 1992-3; Work towards peace [chromogenic print on paper]; AT: https://www.artsy.net/artwork/gillian-wearing-signs-that-say-what-you-want-them-to-say-and-not-signs-that-say-what-someone-else-wants-you-to-say-work-towards-world-peace
Azoulay, A; 2008; The Civil Contract of Photography; New York; Zone Books; pp85
Keys, R; 2018; Homelessness – People are only invisible if we choose to ignore them; Online AT: https://photosociology.wordpress.com/2017/09/13/homelessness-my-photo-essay-published-by-the-sociological-mail/ (accessed on 12/05/2018)
- My views shall never be viewed as imposing upon the freedom of expression of other photographers.
- I have the right to make and produce photography according to my personal ethics as long as:- I do not invade the privacy of others, understand and respect what constitutes public and private property, according to the law of the country that I am in, respect that minors and vulnerable people cannot or may not (vulnerable adults) be able to offer informed consent, is not defamatory, does not cause breach of the peace.
Responsibilities and reflections
- To review the ethics of my photography on a regular basis
- To understand that photography involves the photographed, the photographer and the viewer.
- Photography is not a “one off” experience. It can be viewed over centuries. This means that the interpretation of a photo is not fixed and does not conform to the intended aims of the photographed and photographer.
- To ensure that the photographed understand both the permanent of a photo and the transience of its meaning and hoped for impact.
- To question as to how to best achieve the desired outcome for the photographed and myself.
- To know that I am embedded into my own socio/economic/political beliefs. Genuine neutrality is never a given in any situation.
- Editor’s and curators change the meaning and impact of photography to suit their own needs.
- Organisations can use anyone’s photography as a means of propaganda, it’s a simple as an addition of text or juxtaposition with a conflicting photo.
- Copyright is only a legal definition of ownership for commercial purposes.
- Ownership of photography can never be a moral truth. With photographed, photographer and viewer all having a determination in the use of photography then there cannot be an owner.
- Reading the opinions of photographers and photography critics is my most valuable tool for reinforcing or changing my understanding of photography and my motivations.
- Being clear about my motives and ethics frees me up to enjoy making photography and to explore the potential benefits to others.
- I make photography first and foremost for me, and that’s why reflection is important.
Without doubt this is my favourite photo out of all of those I took in Cork that didn’t include friends. I like the movement created by the different layers. The following is a second favourite. I have taken some tourist photos whilst away, but its the street and action shots that I prefer.