Assignment 1: Work in Progress Portfolio
Assignment BriefAt the end of the module you will submit a Work In Progress Portfolio (WIPP). Your WIPP will most likely represent a defined stage in your research project, or it may be a discrete project in its own right. Although your WIPP does not necessarily need to be a ‘resolved’ body of work, it should be visually cohesive and demonstrate discernment in terms of your selection, sequencing and overall presentation choices.
Your WIPP pdf may be an entirely ‘offline’ document, containing full screen resolution-sized images (c. 4000 px longest edge), and any relevant titles or captions if appropriate.
You may wish to explore with other methods of presentation, and have your work considered for assessment in a specific form or context. This might include, but need not be limited by:
The photo album:
Assignment 2: Documentary
Assignment BriefTo harness learning from the Sustainable Strategies module themes, and open up avenues for further research, produce a short documentary film or media artefact (eg interview, news report, animation), which contextualises and communicates the methodology of your current photographic practice.
Your documentary / media artefact should critically situate your production techniques, technologies and tools within the history and future of practice methodologies (locally and globally), while articulating principles of sustainability for moving your practice and research forward.
You may wish to:
Due to other commitments during this period I have been focussing on my assignment and not participated in the remaining topics:
Topic 3: VISIONS TO BE WRITTEN (weeks 5-6)
Topic 4: INTERFACING (weeks 7-8)
Topic 5: PRODUCTION (weeks 9-11)
Here are my main ideas:
Transtemporal Milland - Rephotography (repeat photography?)
After looking at archival images of Milland in West Sussex, I have been interested in our relationship between our history and daily reality.
Each day we walk past familiar places without realizing the events from the past that occurred in those same places many years before.
While we think of history as something from the past, it can also be intertwined with the present.
Erik Kessels Album Beauty is an ode to the vanishing era of the photo album. Once they were a repository for family history, often representing a manufactured family as edited for display.
Photographs give people an imaginary possession of a past that’s unreal (Sontag, 1977)
Every photograph is a fiction with pretensions to truth. (Joan Fontcuberta)
Rephotographs challenge historical distanciation because the “then” of past and the “now” of the present become entangled with one another (Melissa Miles, 2016)
I want to create a photo album which is a journey through time centered around what is now the parish of Milland.
The album will form part of an exhibition within Hampshire Festival of The Mind, organized by the Good Mental Health Cooperative who develop innovative approaches to promote good mental health and wellbeing. People in mental distress often dwell in the past, and because people can be egocentric, they will insert themselves into pictures and construct their own narrative.
The images themselves are a constructed reality of geographically located images, past and present, presented as a coherent whole, not temporally located.
I have gathered archival images from the Milland Memories Group and Historic England. I have also used royalty vintage images from Pexels. My own rephotography images have been taken digitally then blended with original photos in Photoshop to produce a new constructed reality, combining past and present. I have also taken images using a 1956 Leica and black and white film. I have developed and printed these using traditional methods to give a vintage aesthetic to the photographs. I will sequence the images in the album to give a narrative.
Transport: I have walked to all the photography locations. Inkjet paper was collected when passing the supplier. The darkroom printing was done in St Paul’s darkroom Bristol where I was able to get a lift with my partner who was working nearby.
Cameras: Both film and digital cameras were second-hand and purchased prior to the course.
Photographic materials: Film and paper were old stock I already had. All chemicals were re-used. Inkjet paper is FSC certified.
Photo album: Bought from a local charity shop.
Some of the exploration I have undertaken I have decided not to use when working towards my final drafts of this project. Here are some vintage images from Pexels, which although not from milland, I initially thought they could be used as part of my constructed reality photo album.
When exploring layouts for the album I realised that these images were surplus to requirements and the original archive images, along with my own rephotography were sufficient to give the 'family album' aesthetic I was looking for.
I also explored taking the transtemporal 'time travel' into the future using Lidar technology. Here are some examples I was able to download as a form or rephotography.
Although an interesting concept, I have decided this was moving away in a different direction from the realistic look I was trying to achieve with my album and blended images.
While exploring layouts for my blended rephotography images I tried presenting the archival images, the rephotography and the blended images as a triptych.
It was suggested in a webinar led by my tutor that the triptych was too descriptive about the process involved, so I decided to just use the blended images for my final presentation.
Topic 2: Forum
Find a recent magazine, it can be of any genre but choose one you would never usually look at or purchase.
I have chosen Caravan and Motorhome magazine for this exercise. The first double page spread I have redacted the text from is from an article about a tour around the East Midlands. The main photo is set as a background image, partially covered by information text boxes. The photo uses leading lines from the fence and pathway to draw the viewer into the hills and sunset in the background. The lower portion of the picture is covered over with 3 smaller photos showing places to visit on your trip. They have been given a white border and drop shadow to give the feeling of being randomly dropped on the page, giving a holiday snapshot feel.
The second spread is part of the same article, but here the arrangement has shown a larger picture of a sheep and an illustrated map of the route, this time without the interference of text boxes or overlayed images. There are some smaller thumbnail images at the bottom of the page highlighting further places to visit on route.
The third spread about the High Brown Fritillary uses an extended full-page image which crosses onto the first page but did have some distracting text overlaid top right. There are another two butterfly photos which have been cut out and given drop shadow, which gives the feeling of butterflies flying over the page. Two further thumbnail images show locations where these butterflies can be found.
Snap! I am really surprised at the difference in approach between the two magazines on the same topic. I imagine this represents cultural differences. I also feel that the French magazine is highly influenced by US attitudes to camper vans. I just checked the publisher information in Le Monde du Camping-car' and see that the editorial and publicity teams are pretty big indicating that this is magazine has some clout, I think. The French version has nothing like the detail about what you can do when you are at a destination it's all about lifestyle whereas the British version feels much more gentle and personable.
Topic 1: Forum
Find the oldest photograph in your archive and share it in the forum below. Add 250 words (maximum) that reflect on:
The oldest photograph I could find in my archives is this one of me taken in my parents photography studio in Kettering when I was about two years old (approx. 1966). I have a scanned copy on my computer, but my mother has the original photograph in a vast collection of family photographs. Knowing her, the negatives are also probably filed away somewhere as well! I have boxes of albums of my own photographs I have taken over the years since getting my first camera, a Kodak 126 Instamatic when I was about 10 years old. I was never very good at labelling or dating photos so I have found albums full of photos that I have no idea when or where they were taken! At least one day after I am gone someone will discover them in the attic and the photos can still be viewed, whereas with the abundance of digital media stored on computer hard drives or on cloud storage or social media platforms, how will future generations be able to access these images?
The camera in my hands is a Minolta SR-1, of which I have a version in my camera collection. A great solid all manual camera with no electronics to go wrong!
Love the photo Paul. There is something great about seeing kids with cameras, especially, as you say, great solid manual cameras with no electronics to go wrong.I love the idea that you perceive your analogue archive to be discovered in an attic in years to come. I've never though of a box of photos that way before. The strange thing is however, I've bought old photo albums with contain pictures that I didn't take and even contain family photos (not even my family....absolute strangers in fact!)
Cameras built to last! I really wish I'd not sold my Nikon F1. But I have kept up photo albums since I met my wife at university. Does anyone else I wonder. As you say, who will be able to (or want to) forage through thousands of digital files?
In favour of the digital side of things, I think having organized libraries of imagery on Lightroom, Instagram and Facebook, and Google photos (not that I use FB or IG anymore) is much easier to find. I often get google reminders which show me photo's taken on the same day in the last month, year and previous years etc., and it's always a lovely treat looking through them. I don't know If I would go to the effort of climbing through my attic and looking through older stuff. I also think that face tracking allows you to pick out particular people/ or photos taken in one place much more straightforwardly. I wonder if people will pick up old HDDs in the future and scourage them in the same way we do boxes of photo albums. I like to imagine how technology will continue to evolve as programs get better at organizing our photo's in the future!
Cute picture, Paul! I was thinking the same thing when I was going through the albums. So much is stored on digital and so many drives to go through. I feel like a lot of history is lost because of the digital age.
I spent many Saturday mornings between 2005 and 2010 scanning photographs in order to create digital copies. However, at that stage, I had no knowledge of image size or quality issues etc so some of the scans are not that good although 'good enough'. I can't go back and re-scan because once I'd scanned them all, I threw away all the originals to make space in my study for other things. I do have several books of well-ordered and labelled negatives but have no idea where they are after the last house move.
Topic 1: Activity
Please aim to carry out three photo sessions relating to your research topic. The definition of 'photo session' here depends on your practice, but it could mean a photo-walk, time spent with a model, a mini-assignment, studio time or darkroom printing.
For your photo sessions, choose one strategy from the toolbox and make new work that relates to your research goals. Alternatively, you could choose a strategy not included in the toolbox or devise a new one. At this stage, there doesn't have to be a direct and obvious connection between the strategy and the new work. However, as the module progresses you may find it helpful to reflect critically on such connections.
Drawing from your new work and the broader contexts of your research topic, make a short trailer video that gives an 'appetiser' of what you may (or may not) explore during the rest of the module.