There may be ways of combining different aspects of my interests with an element of personal project. My final PwDP assignment used a sort of still life/collage/archive mish-mash to respond to an event – a sporting event, ‘The Ashes’. I have thought about exploring the potential to use what I might call ‘studio constructs’ to respond to real life events – studio documentary? Might this be possible/important/relevant, with the supposed demise of traditional photo-journalism?
My final People & Place assignment involved portraits of people holding a possession that they had had since childhood, and this image sort of combines elements of all of that.
The notion of holding something that we/others held in the past; I find that interesting … a physical connection that can unleash all sorts of emotional responses. There are different references to ‘holding’ in this very personal image … and I have held all the objects in the image in the last few days, when I put them together. And the traditional idea of a photograph as something to ‘hold’ – that has particular meaning today. There isn’t a lot of thought gone into the actual assembly and composition here – but there is a notion with scope for further investigation.
Holding a possession from the past links directly to this final group of images. Between May 2nd 1955 and March 19th 1956, when I was aged 5-6, I kept (like all fellow pupils in my primary school infant class) a News Book. It was done every Monday and tended to report what had happened over the weekend (often not much!). My late mother hung on to it and now I still have it – 35 pages, each with a wax crayon drawing and some words in pencil, recording events in my life over that ten month period, getting on for sixty years ago.
I can’t help but feel some odd sensations, all these years later, holding the book in my hands and thinking about that child who made it – the little me (literally – I have pictures to prove it).
The events aren’t particularly impressive in themselves; and my drawing wasn’t up to much; but I can vaguely remember doing it, and even vaguely recall some of the events. I’ve actually photographed the whole book and turned it into a 3 minute slideshow, as part of my ‘Thinking With’. It’s here, on YouTube.
This object – document, perhaps – has opened up other thoughts about personal projects. The module notes identify a genre referred to as ‘Personal Journeys’ and I do intend, perhaps in the next few weeks, to go back to some of the places featured in the News Book and photograph them as they are now; some I will not have seen for year and years.
But then there is a much bigger idea that is developing in my mind – a challenging, genre-hopping project that might just be the basis for a significant Body of Work. There are no clues in the pages of the News Book that point to the person I have become. There’s evidence of a good Christian upbringing – long forgotten, in truth, but hopefully helping to for a ‘decent bloke’ – but not a lot more. So – what if I were to take some of these pages as starting points for the construction of a series of fictional (largely image-based, of course) narratives of different versions of me – alternative ‘Stan Dickinson’s, that never happened? … and on that bombshell… as Alan Partridge might say!