I had a very useful video call with my BoW tutor Wendy on Friday where we discussed my Assignment 1 and where I could take some of my ideas going forwards.
It’s entirely fair to say that even at the point of delivering the assignment, I was aware that it wasn’t my greatest work. I took advantage of the fact that A1 is diagnostic / unmarked, and used it as an opportunity to experiment visually. These being my first real attempts at such visual manipulation I can see that they are not particularly sophisticated.
All of this might sound like ‘getting my excuses in early’ regarding tutor feedback but in fact Wendy was very encouraging – I just want to record here the context that I had already started moving away from this particular approach by the time I discussed the work with her, and so more of the discussion was about future development than about critiquing this set of images.
Comments and reactions
- “A good start with lots to develop (as discussed) over the coming months!”
- Cool, that’s encouraging
- Technical experimentation before theme development is unusual – OK for first assignment but need to identify what the images are intended to be about
- Acknowledged – the formal experiments coming first was the only way I could find to get started, to be honest; I had a bit of a block on narrowing down the theme upfront, and playing with form helped me to make progress
- All photography s about memory in some way – need to get more specific about which aspect is being investigated
- I get this, and felt that I was starting to narrow my focus down to an aspect of memory (how photography can be used to illustrate the unreliability of memory processes) but it now feels like I’m either not articulating this well enough, or it’s a well-trodden path that I’m not yet finding enough new to say about
- Questions to think about:
- Who do I want the work to be about? me? others? a universal everyperson?
- Do I want to produce individual images that work together as a series, or a personal journey / narrative?
- Think back to previous work that’s been satisfying, including personal work
- Particularly thinking here about my ongoing personal project photographing lost objects in public
- Wendy persuaded me that it’s OK for a final degree BoW to be ‘playful’ :-)
Wendy suggested looking at four areas of image manipulation that this work could fall into, to see how others have incorporated such techniques into their work, and what messages they used the techniques to convey:
- Personal memory as subject matter:
- e.g. Sara Davidmann’s Ken – to be Destroyed project
- Defacement as formal technique:
- e.g. Tom Butler’s manipulated carte de visites in The Divided Self
- Systems / structures of archives:
- e.g. Trevor Paglen’s recent work A Study of Invisible Images
- Distorted selfies – disrupting the image at the point of capture:
- e.g. Cindy Sherman’s ongoing Instagram series using beauty apps
I will look at these (I’m familiar with the Sherman work) but in the context that I am currently moving away from such facial obscurations in my own experiments.
We discussed ideas for the next two assignments:
- Assignment 2: I want to continue with the idea of visual metaphors for unreliable memory, this time moving away from memory loss to mis-remembering
- Thinking about multiple memories of the same thing
- Assignment 3: as this is where the course notes recommend incorporating ‘chance’ into the process, this is where I plan to investigate the ‘lost items’ idea in more detail, whether through:
- Working with my own archive shots
- Finding new ones
- Or a combination of both