Human Choices? PEER FORUM
Your preparation task for Informing Contexts was to reflect on your current practice and the 'human choices' you have made.
As John Berger (1974) comments:
"Photographs bear witness to a human choice being exercised in a given situation. A photograph is a result of the photographer's decision that it is worth recording that this particular event or this particular object has been seen" (Berger, 1974 in Trachtenberg, 1980: 292)Post to the forum below:
Feedback: 1 - 1 TUTORIALS
The feedback session for the first assessment was very positive but mentioned that I was lacking a clear sense of direction. Jesse really liked my use of What3words and has suggested reading Robert Macfarlane – Landmarks, Rebecca Solnit - Field Guide to Getting Lost, Wanderlust and Tim Dee - Four Fields to inform my work during this module. I feel I am lacking a clear ‘voice’ within my work, but I seem to keep coming back to the basics of exploring light and time. Further planned techniques include:
My project started as a response to bereavement and lockdown where I started to realise the physical and mental health benefits of walking, being in the countryside and taking photographs. Reading Walking in the woods - Yoshifumi Miyazaki, Capturing Mindfulness – Matthew Johnstone and The Power of Now - Eckhart Tolle all supported this theory. I have been looking at the impact that immersing yourself in photography and the countryside can have on your mental health and have started collaborating with Dr Sandy Walker who is a mental health specialist. One of her main research interests is in using the arts in healthcare. (https://researchportal.port.ac.uk/en/persons/sandy-walker). We are exploring how my images can be used to help others and so I guess this would be the context in how my work would be viewed.
Where Are You Now? REFLECTION
In your critical research journal (CRJ):
The photographic ‘characteristics’ defined by Szarkowski are important to my practice, in particular ‘Time’, although personally I think he has missed the important characteristic of ‘Light’ which I feel is the most important factor when creating an image. I also feel that Composition incorporates the characteristics of ‘The thing itself’, ‘The detail’, ‘The frame’ and ‘The vantage point’.
Szarkowski says ‘There is in fact no such thing as an instantaneous photograph. All photographs are time exposures of shorter or longer duration, and each describes a discrete parcel of time. This time is always the present’. This resonates in my current practice, in particular my recent experiments with long exposure pinhole images. I was also interested in Stephen Shore’s comment in ‘How to see the photograph’ about how you should ‘Fill the pictures with attention’. I liked the concept behind his ‘American Surfaces’ of photographing ‘how we see’, but also was inspired by his approach to ‘Uncommon places’ where his work was more detailed to make a more complex picture, or ‘small world’ for the viewer to explore, so thy can see what the world looks like with heightened awareness.
I have been re-visiting the work of Chrystel Lebas, I have watched the video of the ‘Among the trees’ exhibition at the Hayward gallery, I have looked at the work of Paul Nash and ordered the book ‘Informal beauty’ on his photographic work, I have read the article ‘The photographic Device as a Wating Machine’ by Mauricio Lissovsky, and I have ordered the books Robert Macfarlane – Landmarks (arrived today) and Walking in the Woods - Yoshifumi Miyazaki.
My own photographic practice has consisted of daily derives taking digital images with a 50mm (equivalent lens), looking at how we see. I have continued exploring light and time through long exposure pinhole images and also exposing paper negatives in an early 20th C Kodak 3a folding pocket camera (not sure on the why here yet…), plus I have started exploring the use of an infrared filter to capture the light outside of the spectrum of what the human eye can see. I have also experimented with ICM (Intentional Camera Movement) by taking long exposure in camera composite images whilst continuing to walk, with some images combined with Infrared.
My feedback from Paul Clements was very positive. I had already sent him an outline of my current practice to which he had responded with some suggested reading (see independent research above), so we discussed this in more depth. He was pleased that I was considering the ‘Why’ in my work but said not to worry as this will come with time as my practice develops. He also likes my ‘What3words’ titles, so I will be continuing with this approach.
What are your action points? Where are you going next?
I have had a busy and productive week, so need to stop and reflect on what I have done before planning the next stage, but I am keen to revisit the work of Beth Moon looking at Oak trees and trying to capture their winter ‘nakedness’ through treating them as if they were portrait sitters. I would also like to try infrared on them but feel this would be more appropriate in the spring when they have foliage again.
Photos from week 1