I had an excellent first video tutorial with my tutor Wendy on Friday and as well as giving me a whole load of new photographers to research, she suggested that the thing to do as soon as possible is to get stuck into taking some photographs for Assignment 1. This echoes the advice in the course notes about “thinking with photography”, as distinct from “thinking about photography” (OCA 2013: 5).

I confess I am jumping around Part One slightly; I have skimmed but not read in detail the examinations of various genres, and I do intend to return to these over the next couple of weeks to help place my ideas in some kind of wider context. However, I am kind of itching to get started with some of the ideas that are buzzing around my brain, so the advice to get cracking is exactly what I wanted to hear.

Getting out vs getting stuck in

One small point (possibly pedantic but bear with me): the course notes says about this early stage to “get out and about and start shooting” (ibid: 8), “Begin your project by going out on a shoot” (ibid: 35) (my emphasis) – which I found a strangely limiting view of the potential photographic opportunities available: not all photography is done away from home! The course notes seem to presuppose a particular realism-based approach. My current train of thought is based more on constructed images, re-photographing and/or digital manipulation. So, much of my experimentation is taking place inside the house…!

Initial experimentation

Wendy suggested writing a few hundred words and producing a sample image or two on an initial idea so here goes:

Photographing Forgetting

My broad area of interest for Body of Work is memory. In particular I am currently most fascinated with its opposite: forgetting.

I am curious about aspects of personal memory such as memory loss, memory lapses, fading memories, the similarities and differences between memory and photography, the extent to which photography helps, hinders or alters memories.

This may or may not bear any relation to the final outcome but it feels like the place I want to start from. One of the common factors in the work of my own that I’ve been most satisfied with over the years is when I’ve managed to photographically express or evoke an internal state of mind. I aim to do this, or something like it, in this project.

In a nutshell, what I want to do here is to visually depict forgetting. I want to evoke the sensation of the process (if it is a process) of forgetting something – a fact, or a place, or a person etc.

The execution I’ve tried first is based on re-photographing. I’ve taken time-lapse images of developing instant film and sequenced them in reverse order so that the image fades to white. The alternative executions here are both based on presenting the fading process against the backdrop of the original (clear, large) image but each has a slightly different intent:

A1 poc1 grid

The grid format is intended to portray forgetting an entire scene – the whole thing fading out of memory.

A1 poc1 zoom

The zoom format is intended to portray a particular aspect of the scene being forgotten, with the final blank image obscuring the missing piece.

This is very much a proof concept stage – in terms of the assignment outcome I intend to make the content of the images themselves relevant to the memory theme, rather than making this a purely formal conceptual execution. I’m thinking of options like: old photos; places (e.g. former houses); people I’ve lost touch with; recreated memory lapses; etc.

Any comments from anyone reading this would be much appreciated!


OCA (2013) Body of Work course handbook [PH3BOW120913]