Monthly Archives: July 2015

Assignment Four Feedback

Councillor Stan Framed Typical Characteristic Curve 02

I had a tutorial conversation with Clive on Friday, regarding my submission for Assignment Four.  That submission included the tabloid version of ‘Portraits’, the Google search outcomes for that project, the ‘wherenothingisreal’ website, the sequenced slideshow version of ‘Textbook’, plus a set of pdf notes bringing it all together and discussing the choices I seem to be facing just now.  The outcome wasn’t quite as I’d expected.  I had thought we would probably discuss the pros and cons of continuing with both projects or concentrating on, say, ‘Textbook’.  Actually, even allowing for due modesty, I have to say that he seems so enthusiastic about ‘Portraits’ that it’s hard to see how I could even consider side-lining it.  Indeed, it might even be argued that he would favour ‘Portraits’ over ‘Textbook’!  Really good to have enthusiastic support and positive feedback, flattering even, but it leaves me with, maybe, an even more difficult situation regarding assessment submission.  There’s  a fair bit of time, of course, but potentially a lot to do as well.  And I don’t want to fall into the trap of submitting so much that it’s hard for the assessor to look at it in enough depth to really appreciate the work that’s been done.

We certainly spent quite some time on the complications of presenting ‘Portraits’.  Clive really likes ‘The Stan’ tabloid and wouldn’t change anything about it.  He also feels that some/all of these images should be presented as large-scale prints – and I agree.  But neither of those formats can do justice to the broader ‘virtual’ context in which the images exist and, in some ways, come into their own.  They are ‘out there’ as, potentially, ‘real’ identities, so how do we do justice to that aspect in bringing the work to Assessment.  I do have an idea for another website that might do the trick, but it’s going to require more work to put it together.  The ‘wherenothingisreal’ website doesn’t do the job – but I have in mind a more ‘conceptual’ idea that would build on some of its content.

Clive didn’t have too much to say about ‘Textbook’.  I’m not sure it appeals to him quite so much – which is fair enough – and he did raise, again, the question of copyright and appropriation; which I’ve mentioned before myself and which would certainly have to be considered in the Sustaining Your Practice module.  We didn’t get into the editing of this work at all.

And mention of Sustaining Your Practice brings me to a final reflection that I should make here.  I think it’s time for me to enrol on that final element.  In fact, it occurs to me that the issues I’m struggling with are precisely those that should best be resolved within that module.  Of course, I’m thinking through the question of Assessment Submission format for BoW, but this is also bound up with ‘How do I take this work to the outside world?’.  A significant part of that module is about networking and seeking feedback on the work and perhaps it’s that wider feedback I’m in need of if I’m to resolve everything in a meaningful fashion.

So – fantastic to receive positive and supportive comments on my work from Clive, but a lot to do to resolve it for the various audiences and I may have to go looking for advice on a broader basis.

Linking Body of Work & Contextual Studies

CS essay front

A few weeks ago, I submitted the first draft of my Contextual Studies extended essay – part of the front cover, including the title, appears above.  I’ve had positive feedback; the essay needs a little more editing and my tutor posed a few questions for me to think about but, in essence, the essay is written.  Apart from being a great relief (!), this also presents a good opportunity (and my CS tutor encouraged it) to reflect in this journal on the linking and mutual support of the two modules.  There is no doubt at all in my mind that the research and writing has helped significantly in contextualising the work I have been producing here; and the making of the work has also influenced and informed my understanding of the contemporary art context in the essay.  Summarising the conclusion of the essay, it says that:

· The particular relationship of the photographic image with something perceived as reality survives today – whatever the context of the making and the viewing.

· The origin of that relationship may be cultural, psychological, even scientific; but it resides, even through the torrent of digital images pouring across the internet.

· The existence of this relationship is fundamental to photography’s significance in contemporary art; and through the exploitation, extension, and also subversion, of the medium, the contemporary artist can create meaning in a viewer’s perception, and provoke questions.

· Digital technology does not replace or undermine this significance, but it offers scope for continuing experimentation and exploitation of the photography/reality relationship.

Both of the projects that have progressed to this stage in my Body of Work have relevance within, and/or owe their relevance to, this context. The ‘Portraits’ project makes use of the perceived ‘reality’ of a photograph to create ‘believable’ images of ‘Stan’ identities that have never and will never exist. Yet they appear in Google image searches with apparent credibility alongside ‘real’ images of ‘real’ people – so potentially questioning the role of the photographic image as a representation of identity and, perhaps, the whole manner in which we perceive ‘self’ and identity. The ‘Textbook’ project constructs a seductive series of images that hover between something ‘real’ and something ‘virtual’, inviting the viewer to look for meaning and narrative, perhaps even to see significance for the photographic medium itself. Yet they are constructs, empty tableaux made from detached signifiers, strung together with no ‘meaning’ other than that they were made – in common, perhaps, with so many of the images through which we seek to construct ‘reality’ in the 21st century.

That seems to be quite a brief reflection, but I don’t think there’s anything else to say about it.  The two modules have come together successfully in my own mind.  I feel confident that I can talk about the context of this Body of Work and I hope my contextualising has the credibility to make sense to those who read/hear it and who look at my work.  “Job done”, so far!  Assignment Four of BoW should go to my tutor in the next couple of days; I hope to enrol on Sustaining Your Practice shortly, too; get BoW and CS into an ‘assessable” form over the next 2/3 months (though they won’t be assessed until March); then ‘onwards and upwards’!

Textbook–final images, now what?

Textbook First Edit

I have ‘finished’ making images for the Textbook Project!  A bold statement – and not necessarily an accurate one; there could be more if the project seems to demand it, and I have plenty of material from which I could go further.  That’s a strange aspect of this project; it need never end unless I choose to end it.  But then, knowing when it’s time to stop is an important part of the process – and it’s time to stop!

Some recent additions include:

_DSC8378-Edit_DSC8379-Edit_DSC8564-Edit_DSC8565-Edit

And I finally set it on fire:

_DSC8588_DSC8651

… so time to stop!

I did work on one more pattern/construct, a kind of final spectacular finale …

Spectral Sensitivity Colour Complex

… and I did let the sun go to work on its origin! (Fabulous title for the diagram!)

_DSC8563-Edit

Which leads to the question – what now?  The image at the top of this post shows a pile of around 80-90 prints, each circa 10cmx10cm.  I produced them for the purpose of editing and sequencing and the pile includes most, though not quite all, of the images that have emerged from the project.  Almost from the start, I have believed that a book should be the final outcome for this project – book deconstructed, reconstructed, reimagined, and re-formed as a new book.  Editing a set of images down to those that really work, that really matter for the project – everyone knows that’s a difficult and challenging task.  Letting go of some that are ‘dear’ to the maker is not easy.  I have about 87 images in the set – and their importance does vary, some being part of the build up to something else, for example.  But a thought has come to me about this project, and I don’t think it’s me getting ‘cold feet’ about the editing process – There might be an argument for keeping all or most of them in the book!

I did a little bit of random research amongst some photobooks on my shelves, and the typical number of ‘leaves’ (individual pages) in a decent sized book is around 80.  I have begun to think of the possibility of a lengthy and potentially ‘lively’ book in which all these images appear – sometimes 2/3/4 to a page, sometimes a double-page ‘colour splash’ with full bleed that assaults the senses.  I have a feeling that there is enough visual strength and enough variety in the set to make that work.  Using the small prints, I have had a shot at ordering them in a way that they might be presented in such a book.  This is a link to a PDF slideshow of the sequence, which I hope will ‘play’.  Important to say that they appear as individual slides, all more or less the same size, whereas in book form, there would be much more variety and rhythm to the presentation; also worth saying that there are one or two towards the end that might not ‘survive’ a further edit – one at least is probably obvious.  This is the link: Textbook Slideshow.

I am going to need to submit Assignment Four soon, as already reflected in relation to the Portraits.  This ‘long’ edit might form part of the submission – need to reflect.