Topic 5: INTERDISCIPLINARY PRACTICE
Tell us about how and why your current practice relates to particular discipline(s). Please include some examples and reference sources.
If your work is about quite specific subject matter, then how your photography relates to other disciplines might be fairly straightforward.
If this is not the case, or you are still unsure about the direction of your research project at this stage, we would still like you to share a piece of work (in any medium other than photography) that you feel raises questions or feelings you think you might like to explore further.
Some of my current practice has drawn inspiration from the impressionism paintings of artists such as Monet and the spontaneity of their brush strokes, along with the use of lighting and shadow and a fragmented colour application. Another characterisation of this style is the small, visible brushstrokes that offer the bare impression of form. They were able to catch landscapes instinctively and with a spontaneity that had not been previously practised by other landscape artists. Pointillism grew from impressionism and artists such as Vincent Van Gogh used the technique of using small distinct dots of colour to form an image.
In photography, by using wide apertures, de-focusing the lens and using lighting effectively you can create bokeh which can create a similar aesthetic to a scene as that achieved by impressionist or pointillism artists.
INTERDISCIPLINARY PRACTICE: Reflection
Now reflect on your practice and approach to research:
Topic 4: AUTHORSHIP and COLLABORATION
This week you will form a small team within your cohort (2-6 people) and devise a simple ‘micro project’ that you can develop and complete in a few hours, over the course of a couple of days. You will present your work on a forum and in the webinar at the end of the week.
To find your creative partner(s), post a single sentence or image to the forum below that could form the starting point for a piece of collaborative work. A text could be a headline, a piece of prose or poetry, or anything you like. An image might be your own, or somebody else’s. Be sure to reference all sources.
Please do this from Friday 8th - Tuesday 11th October. When contributions start to be posted on the forum, ‘reply’ to posts, either with words or with images, to find out where your common interests are.
In your group, devise a simple strategy you can all contribute to. The project, or work, can be about anything you like. Think about creative ways of engaging with and involving all members of the group and challenging ideas around authorship.
Keith Arnatt - The Tears of Things (Objects from a Rubbish Tip), 1990-91
Four of us responded to each other work and found that we had a shared interest in discarded, lost or found items and so formed a collaboration group where we communicated through Teams chat, with a meeting between three of us to discuss our ideas. Trish was in Canada and so on a different time zone, plus was pushed for time so she started the project with some images from near where she lived which we were then able to discuss and form a plan to follow on from. Below is the resulting presentation from our collaboration which was well received in our webinar.
AUTHORSHIP and COLLABORATION: Reflection
Think about your creative practice – your photography – and also maybe aspects of your life beyond or outside of this:
Topic 3: Reading Photographs
Reading Photographs - Forum
Before continuing, post an image of (or a link to) an advertising image in the discussion forum. Write a few lines about what the brand or organisation is trying to communicate about the product or service being advertised. Don’t labour this task: the prose can be as loose as you like, bullet points or note form is fine. Make sure you credit the source.
In 1982, Benetton hired Oliviero Toscani as creative director, which led to a change in advertising focus towards raising awareness for various issues worldwide. This image from 1991 depicts an interracial, homosexual couple with an adopted child at a time when advertising and indeed the media was devoid of such imagery. United Colors of Benetton is a clothing brand renowned for its bold colours, so the interracial colours, along with the contrasting green blanket with burgundy edging is also symbolic of their ‘united colours’ theme. ‘We did not create our advertisements in order to provoke, but to make people talk, to develop citizen consciousness’, Luciano Benetton.
These were the responses from other students:
Great campaign and wonderful photo: the direct gazes, the child in an extraordinary pose - like he/she is giving a rousing speech. I am left concerned about how staged this is - presumably involving models, rather than any kind of genuine family group. Citizen consciousness or building brand loyalty?
I can only imagine the meeting room. 'How do we make the most socially engaging, controversial image possible?'
I don't really see it so cynically. I think inclusiveness is important and showing a range of families (which is reality) is progressive - the antidote to some of the sexist ads like the ones posted by others. Yes it's 'staged' and yes it uses models, but the image helps to move society toward inclusiveness and representativeness, rather than another white, traditional, nuclear family model. And yes, I realize it's imagery created to sell products. It also speaks to the ethos of the company.
It raises the question of the spectrum in concerned photograpy that runs from witnessing to raising awareness to actual activism which is a very different question. There is pretty much nobody who will run an ad like this today - perhaps Nike and Colin Kapernick might run it close, but that's also very different...
READING PHOTOGRAPHS: Activity
Consider these two examples of different Afghan women who are of a similar age.
Write a short post in the forum below (maximum 200 words) reflecting on how you read these two images. What are their similarities and how do they differ? You are free to research further before considering your response. You should also take into account the different dates, the photographers and the titles used here.
I feel these two images have more differences than similarities. They are both of young Afghan women, wearing headscarves and with similar poses and composition, both separated from the background by use of a shallow depth of field. When McCurry photographed Sharbat Gula the connection he had was fleeting. He did not even know her name at the time. He was drawn to her piercing green eyes which had an intense haunted look which was quite penetrating. Was it fear from what she had experienced, or was it the fear of McCurry himself, as it is not usual for a girl of traditional Pashtun culture to reveal her face to a man who does not belong to her family? Bieber had more time to take the shot of Aisha on assignment in a women’s shelter and spent time getting to know her and make her feel comfortable. She asked Aisha ‘Would it be possible to not think about what happened to you for a few minutes and just focus on your inner power and beauty?’. Bieber wanted people to see Aisha as a woman before they saw what had happened to her.
READING PHOTOGRAPHS: Reflection
Consider also the points raised in the presentation. What factors influence how you might read and interpret photographs. Think about: