I wrote recently about clarifying my intent and my concerns that the work to date doesn’t meet my own expectations of this intent. I also wrote some time ago about needing to experiment more. Well, it’s time to put my money where my mouth is.

I find putting my experiments ‘out there’ really quite scary. I’m usually fairly cautious and only show work that I am reasonably happy with. But I’m feeling the need to throw caution to the wind and take the work in some more experimental directions to see what happens.

To be clear: this is very rough and ready. I’m not sure how much, if any, of this really represents a way forward. It might be a case of getting an idea out of my system and returning to something closer to the path I was on. We’ll see.

Here goes:

The thinking

As covered in the ‘intent’ post, I’m looking for ways of making the viewing experience slightly more engaging for the viewer than looking at a series of ‘straight’ photographs.

The reason for this is that I wish to give the viewer more of a sense of ‘memories’ when looking at my images. I wish to introduce what I’ve been calling a ‘layer of abstraction’ that lifts the image away from being a straight photograph of a scene or object and into the realms of meta-memory (thinking about one’s own memory).

The one-liner I’ve come up with to describe my communication intent with this work is:

  • I want viewers of this work to think about the fallibility of their own memory

I’ve been trying to come up with ways in which a photographic image could ‘resemble’ a memory. A visual memory has certain characteristics:

  • fleeting
  • often comes unbidden
  • fragmented
  • incomplete

First experiment

This concept is, quite simply, projecting the photos already taken onto new surfaces, and photographing the resultant projections. I want to conjure up the sense of an image appearing in memory.

I kind of want “photographs of photographs” to equate to “memories of memories”…

Does this make sense? Does this help to get my message across? Does it provoke thoughts or feelings about memory/memories?

[EDIT: I added Experiment 2 onto this post for ease of comparison]

Second experiment

This is a more subtle treatment than the last. I have faded each image to white at the right edge.

The idea is that by fading the images as the eye travels from left to right, the metaphor of memories fading is evoked.

Same questions as above:

Does this make sense? Does this help to get my message across? Does it provoke thoughts or feelings about memory/memories?

Next steps

I’m interested in any feedback from anyone reading this. Be as brutal as you like.

I think I might leave it at these two experiments for now, and think about it over the weekend.

On Monday I’ll decide whether to bring these experiments to the next student hangout for comment.