PHO705: Week 4 Assignment Final Project Proposal

This was a week for handing in the FMP Project Proposal

Proposal PDF

The next step is to book a 121 meeting with my Supervisor.

Bibliography

Howard Rachel (2018) Repetition is truth via Dolorosa. Edited by A. C. Beard Jason. London: Other Criteria Books. Available at: newportstreetgallery.com.

Major Update to Blog

A major update has been completed including a retrospective change to posts from the earlier modules that impact on my FMP.

#Advice

A video resource made available showed how the staff of Falmouth University approach a Critical Review Journal and especially during assessment, so it became clearer how I might adapt some details of my own blog.

Step by step guidance is provided in the document MA Photography CRJ Guidelines (September 2019).pdf is designed to help new starters as well as more advanced users.

A second video resource provides an example of one students work.

A result of using the above resources, videos and guidance document is that the FMP blog has now been restructured and is more professional. It should be easier to research as work continues.

At Week 5 the restructuring is basically complete:

  • tag cloud search is introduced
  • category filtering is introduced
  • FMP posts structured and scheduled (use tags and categories)
  • backup is automatic (security)
  • language selection included (quick win)

PHO705: Guest Lecture Judy Harrison

This video was returned to on 16 October. This lecture tunes in to the representation of people through community collaborative practice.

I then relate Judy Harrison’s work to my practice to find out what I can take from it.

Studying at college with what were to become famous names such as Martin Parr and others, Judy was in good company. Judy’s work showed a great deal of social concern around the topic of identity, migration and racism. Her work also featured themes of strong women in farming and in the pottery industry.

Judy’s work showed genuine concern for people as she spent time talking with them. Examples here were the women working on farms. Judy noted the importance of engaging with the women who were her subjects. This was part of slowing down. She did not want to take advantage of her subjects.

An element of rephotography existed as Judy often returned to the original places and so was aware of changes that had occurred.

Judy instigated the setting up of workshops in migrant communities and by lending cameras, and by showing how to use them her subjects were able to document their own identities. This was a lengthy venture in which Judy was involved for 15 years.

The collaborative work toured and exhibited nationally.

Work began to locate in a third space, between shooting indoors and outdoors. Her collaborators were able to bring gestures of performance and create images of self-expression. People were given a voice. She would often go back over the years. The children had grown into adults and now had their own children.

Judy then became concerned to document place, people and school. Her concern was to mend a cultural divide, through a literacy project.

Her work changed to that of the decline in the potteries and she became deeply ingrained in the remaining industry and alludes to the sensory experience in that working environment with the smell of clay and dust.

Judy is an advocate of making work on photographic film as a means of slowing down. This compares with the Final photo project. As a photographer, 35mm film use has been readopted. However, its use is infrequent. The digital practice is unavoidable in the Final photo project where unseen data on the digital sensor is key. Slowing down still occurs but this occurs at the post-processing of image art in the digital darkroom.

#Advice

The work is not about Nostalgia. Is nostalgia a negative?

Obtain a balance between others’ interests and the photographer’s interests.

Collaboration is encouraged by the University. A challenge is knowing how to mark the work. Family archive prints are a newly introduced part of my project as I seek direction in mixing art with photographs others can identify with. If seen as collaboration it is in the context of using historical records.

Bibliography

Photographs – courtesy Judy Harrison from Falmouth University Guest Lecture

PHO705: Theme, People and Place

A direction change is to the revived interest in using the family archive of film prints. Again this is to do with developing my visual language. Initial indications are quite revealing:

Experience in scanning film negatives revived after my visit to the Falmouth University, Institute of Photography IoP. Prior to this, I’d done some archive film scanning of a reasonably low resolution using a portable scanner. This was enough to satisfy my interest at the time. At the IoP some current films were developed: three 35mm films and two 4 by 5 negatives. The film was processed both by hand and on a developing machine. A drum scanner was used to digitize the results.

Based on earlier experience using a portable scanner to create digital versions of a real archive, it seemed that a couple of years elapsed time might be involved in making a comprehensive capture. This had coloured my view on starting to scan another 5 or 6 generations of the family archive.

The estimate, making it infeasible for a full scan during an FMP, unless another approach was considered. What unfolded was a quick look through the archive, and a mass of images was captured on a smartphone in rapid time. This has different effects: it made selecting and using specific photos possible. These were printed photographs as opposed to film. What was clear was the content of pictures I was interested in making the process more focussed. I was looking at specific places: landscape, farms, buildings but also people in the maternal line or closely connected. 

The downside of the initial session is to do with a consistent and controlled capture set-up that could be improved. As a first pass, this was highly successful, though. There are options: I can invest time in cleaning up the photographs in digital. My usual preference is digital retouching. I could revisit the archive and make new scans, either in a more controlled fashion or using expensive scanning equipment. A constraint I placed on the activity was the need to engage and have a discussion. It wasn’t a grab but a sensitively handled meeting.

I decided not to separate any of the prints of special interest from the archive for controlled scanning. The thing is that so much can be read from the grouping of prints and their order as it aids discussion when identifying people and places.

In the event, there was an engaging discussion during the inspection of prints and some good scanned results were obtained. Images of specific interest had been picked out and rephotographed. This was a collaborative effort and was quite swift. Another session may be arranged to reconfirm a few identities.

Categories were decided, and these fall into headings related to people and place:

  • Menfolk,
  • Women especially mothers,
  • Children,
  • Farming, Landscape, and Activities.

My project so far has been portrayed as connecting with the 1900s as I collapse time through an unchanging aspect of Biology, mitochondria.

Further suggestions arising from the Tuesday P2P meetings is to record an oral history. This suggestion related to another revival. From recent experience, it would introduce an atmosphere around any Exhibition and supplement information in taking it to the public as a Project book.

Part of this is the centenary commemoration 2014-2018.

Recent experience has underlined viewer interest in photographs containing people, exactly what these archive images contain. What must not be lost is the role these photographs play in providing supporting context to my main abstract work.

The archive turned up other gems such as a wartime identity card and a really old photograph envelope with markings that urge making extra prints.

I have to date maintained a close focus on a specific branch of the family but am now ready to spread a little wider during my FMP project.

There are several maternal lines. In a sense this makes the work more interesting to make and hopefully to view.

I have a cooling off period as I think through how all this affects my project.

A constraint I address is having enough images to proceed with an edit for an exhibition and for a book. A consequence is this early activity in gathering and taking pictures. I hope to have learned from my previous study module.

Having said this, I have already met distraction especially in restructuring this blog. The cost of doing so should be repaid later as it becomes easier to research from my CRJ.