Post MA

Having steered a wide berth on so-called “Doom scrolling”, interest returned to photography. Photographic activity recommenced.

Given the surprise that studying a visual art resulted in a reawakening of enthusiasm for reading, then it should be no surprise to have gone out and sought a course on the history of photography with the attendant reading. This has been one of my first actions.

Two years was the extended period spent engaging in postgraduate reading scoped to art history and the theory of photography as applied to my chosen practice. The Informing Contexts module led by Dr S. I enjoyed so much.

So what am I up to here? A five week course with The Photographers Gallery on an Introduction to Photographic Histories is what. Seeing the subject taught in a different way allied with what I’d already learnt has been the important thing.

There is a bit more bias towards arts with an engagement in social and political issues to a much grater degree. This is not so much in the weekly presentations as the texts we are given to read. So issues of gender, and race and world events. Quite informative really.

Does it have an effect on what I did during FMP, well to be honest yes. My understanding for example of Modernism and the Surreal has expanded wider to Pictorialism and Modernism bridged by Surrealist art. Note there is a difference between Surrealism and the term Surrealist, the former being uncanny say, the latter being more politically driven. It is a fine point but one worth registering and an aid to my ongoing development.

And in Practice? It would be great to make Surrealist art.

So how about casting wider to genres that were not fully developed. Well that has been another progression. In terms of Landscape I did two things during the MA, I photographed place in figurative or perspective form then inspired by this moved on to completely abstract place.

This was a great confirmation of Landscape being more than the sublime or picturesque. It became a place of shared experience separated by a whole century. That was fundamental to my work alongside the genetic tracing of mtDNA – the glow that can be photographed as lens based photography that links to the biology that transcends time.

Now I revisit Landscape but as a Fine Art. In particular developing the need to slow right down and get the exact image intended in the circumstances of tide and weather despite rigorous planning. And then to process the image to create such drama and feeling of perspective as three dimensions are represented on a flat “canvas”. As the expression goes “I need to get out more” and capture some images to work on diligently in post. For me post has is a draw.

Anything else, well yes. Books, I’ve returned to learn more about making. The person who taught me bookbinding or at least covering laid on another course on the print side and double-sided paper selection and other means of crafting a physical work.,

I learned by trial and found for example the double colour correction issue and solved it during FMP delivery. I do all my own printing and print mounting. What it was, was for the Surfaces and Strategies summer task or the Ed Ruscha task I had the colour issue which was maybe okay for a book dummy but certainly not for a FMP final version. Although this aspect of the craft is not taught I did learn quickly through practice through some very detailed research. Now I have it all happily under control as far as paper goes. Chalk that up to experience. When something worked and was stuck to fine but change one of the print elements, ink, paper or print workflow and it can go horribly wrong, but that is in the past.

I’ve got a post MA plan. It is good to have created a plan, especially in light of the drift that will ensue without one. In this plan it is quite exciting as there is more book making and I’d like to expand the presentation methods for my work. If nothing else it is refreshing or indeed motivating.

So why sign up to further bouts of learning? because that is what has been allowed to happen. Well, I discovered a course that is intended to help produce an RPS Associate panel submission. But is that necessary as the MA has led to ARPS by Exemption already. What it is, is the specific course takes a more technical view of digital camerawork than was appropriate to the MA. Having done much on this elsewhere, I feel first that it is good to consolidate learning as it can only increase technical quality. I was right on the edge during most of the MA on this due to subject scale for example. The other hope is to distinguish the genres of submission for RPS distinctions and at the present level casts thought towards the Fellowship distinction. Maybe it is early and I’m not ready but unless you know the way to success how could fellowship ever follow? other than by chance.


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