After taking close to 1000 new photos since Assignment 4 and slowly editing them down into first of all a longlist of 100-ish and subsequently a shorter pool of about 30 candidate images, it feels like an appropriate time to pause and see how the images I’m working with might look in a more ‘finished’ format.


This is not to say that I consider the work to be close to completion – in fact I have agreed an extension with the OCA as the end of BoW was due for the end of this month but I know I need to work on it for more than another fortnight before I’ll be happy enough to submit for tutor feedback.

It’s more a case of testing the waters with the current visual strategy to start to build up what the end result might look like. I am still shooting new images and still have a backup of longlist images if I decide that the presentation is getting there but the imagery itself needs more work.

Tutor feedback recap

There were three key pieces of advice from my last tutorial that I wish to test at this point:

  1. Expand the repertoire of subject matter beyond lost gloves (as the metaphor became repetitive)
  2. Revert to straight photography (as re-photography/projection was not really adding anything)
  3. Revert to pairing individual images with text fragments (as Wendy feels that this is a significant part of made the Assignment 3 version of this concept work well)

In this work-in-progress version I am implementing all three points in Wendy’s advice, as I feel it is important to take tutor feedback seriously and at least try whatever they suggest will improve the work.

At the time of the tutorial I was fully on board with points 1 (I’d come to the same conclusion myself by then) and 3 (I had always preferred text-image pairing but was persuaded by others to move the text away from the images in the A4 submission).

The thing I was initially more attached to was point 2, the re-photographing/projection idea, but as time has gone on I am more relaxed about dropping this and pursuing the straight photography approach as suggested by Wendy. This is despite my non-OCA photography output taking more of an experimental / abstract turn, but I sense that it might be more appropriate to see this BoW through to completion on this trajectory rather than go too experimental with it.

Presentation format

For some reason I always find it easiest to envisage this body of work as a book first and foremost. I can kind of imagine it in an exhibition environment too, but it’s as a book that I tend to visualise it as a real-world artefact.

I think a big part of it is that I find the book format easiest to juxtapose images and text, which is necessary for my intent. In an exhibition space I can position the text alongside, close to or as part of the images, of course, I just find it easiest to start thinking in book pages.

(As an aside, given the text-pairing aspect of the work, the presentation format I am most concerned about is loose prints for assessment: do I superimpose text? include text as part of the print but outside the image, e.g. on the lower border? just label the prints on the reverse? Questions for later!)

New working title

I’ve got through so many titles so far but today it is:

I forget,

Yes, the comma is intentional :-)

The last title (We all lose something every day) was too closely aligned to the lost objects trope, so I knew it needed to be replaced. I am increasingly convinced that the title needs to help point the viewer in the right direction regarding their interpretation of the work – I want to get the notion of forgetting established early on.

I’m not sure how common the phrase ‘I forget‘ is in general English usage but in the north of England this particular form of words is used to introduce something specific that one knows one has forgotten, and is often the prefix to a question. In vernacular use it is peculiarly present tense (in its intended usage a more correct form would be ‘I forgot’, or ‘I’ve forgotten’, but it’s definitely the present tense in northern dialects).

Some examples that might illustrate the usage:

  • I forget, where did your mum move to?
  • I forget, what time does the Co-op shut?

The reason I’m attracted to the phrase is the present-tense-ness. In its normal usage it is intended as a simple present tense, relating only to the misremembered detail that follows; but as the English language is such a wonderful, malleable thing it can also be interpreted as present continuous: ‘I forget‘ = “forgetting is something I do; I am a forgetter‘ – a more general admission of forgetfulness.

The comma is there to denote that lots of things follow this two-word phrase; the blankness after the comma helps to imply a sense of forgetfulness.

Book dummy

Click on the first image for a full-screen slideshow.

Next steps

I want to get some feedback from other students at some point, although the next video hangout I’m due to attend isn’t until the week after next. In the meantime I might carry on fettling with the shortlisted images, and continuing to take new ones as I see appropriate scenes on my wanders.