Having handed my dissertation in and am now able to focus all of my time on visual practice work, I’m rethinking my ideas for my work as I’m not happy with how my work went last term. I want to go down 2 project routes whilst I get started as I’m not sure how they will turn out.
One of my ideas, which I have already arranged, is to spend weekly rehearsal sessions with a local drama group and photograph their progress until their performance in April. I have been reading critical texts based on performance and the documenting of this which is interesting; such as the difference between the actual performance and what the photographs show, as photographs are all visual and muted, and also the archiving of performances. I’m also interested in capturing the body language and facial expressions of the actors, as well as looking at the actors compared to the characters that they portray in the play. This could be quite interesting as the director told me how some of them are playing characters much older than themselves and also have very different personalities in ‘real life’ to their characters. I’m yet to take photographs so I will do this and see if it develops well.
Other ideas/last term ideas
I’m also still interested in the work of the photographers I looked at throughout last term, which all have a documentary kind of style. Therefore I’m going to try and do work based on this too as an alternative; as I don’t know how the drama photographs will turn out and can’t start that until next week.I still like the idea of photographing people in their environments, I think it would be interesting to have a collection of photographs, each being a singular photograph of one person/one group and then the rest being different people. But I also still like the idea of documenting a place and then all of the people that spend time there – or a journey capturing people along the way. I would have to think about where these places would be.
I found today’s tutor swap really useful, to get different/new opinions on my work, and also because we did the session in a different way that made me think about things relating to my work that I hadn’t before. It made me question what I was doing and know where to take my work next.
We looked at a text by Emma Cocker on ‘Tactics from the unknown: Preparing for the unexpected’. Which is about how as artists we deal with not knowing what we’re doing with our work. Then we were encouraged to think more about how and why we work rather than just the obvious visual and critical aspect of our work.
I talked about how I started by looking at documentary, and that I have an interest in people, what they do, where they do it and I’d like whatever I do to be truthful to what they are. Maybe I may make a social statement. Themes in my work are identity, personal space, spaces in which people spend time, and I did want to look at communities and these spaces.
I also showed my prints – a set of photographs from Sneinton Market in the first week and my most recent set of my dad in his ‘personal space’.
It was pointed out that my photos don’t really contain people, which is obvious but this turned into more questions being raised on if I actually want to photograph people, or their spaces.
I was also advised away from using the word Documentary to describe what I’m doing, as the garage photographs are more of a ‘portrait of that person’ (my dad) which is true. And that I shouldn’t put it in this genre as its too confined and doesn’t really do the work justice.
Other points on my work:
– Who’s personal spaces would I be photographing?
– My work based on personal spaces seems to be about the persons interaction with the place (also useful to think about how we adjust the space/ make it ours, and what the space does for us)
– Do you have to get to know someone before photographing their personal spaces? As you would if you were photographing communities etc.?
– Stepping back rather than going in and photographing certain items, I should look at how things/objects in the space interact within the frame.
– Came to the realisation that I work by seeing things and thinking that object would make a good photo.
– It was also recommended that I should research more on what people have wrote about personal spaces, everyday spaces etc. Rather than looking just at photographers for research.
I showed both my ‘people and their environments/personal places’ photographs and my series of photographs in the Sneinton Market area, I had some really positive comments about the photos and helpful advice on them. I also showed my research to date.
From this the main points about what I want to do next are
– look at different areas of Nottingham in the same way as I have with Snienton, photographing the buildings etc.
– focus on sneinton as one area to capture further aspects: in particular the people in the community there
– look at other people that I can photograph as them and then their personal space.
-I visited the Hyson Green area today to suss the local area, gain a better understanding of the surroundings as I haven’t spent much time there in the past, and think about the approach that I could take in photographing in a community such as this one. I think that the very diverse area is an amazing thing to see visually. I thought about what I could actually take photographs of if I choose to base my work there and I think it would have to involve the array of shops in the area as this would be a way of me accessing the people of the area and these are what seem to be the main focal point of the area. There was also a weekly market on which could also be interesting. I didn’t take any photographs as I think for this kind of work time has to be taken to properly figure out what I want to do rather than just approach people without knowing fully what style I want to achieve.
-I also emailed Max yesterday to ask about information on the work that he is doing on communities, which I was recommended to do when I said I was thinking about looking at communities in the Hyson Green area of Nottingham. He has emailed back telling me that he’s doing work based in Lenton in Nottingham, and looking at many aspects of the area that deal with all aspects of life from community, regeneration, faith, landmarks, the boarders of Lenton, people. This would be good as a starting point for me to begin working on photographs where I have access to people and places.
In the past few weeks I have researched an array of photographers, all relating to my original ideas but with differing styles of work and subjects. From this I haven’t pinpointed one particular route that I want to take this year, but I want to spend the first term experimenting with a few different sides of documentary photography. Communities of people, both in a large and small scale, such as Hussians work on areas of Birmingham, or Ereaux’s work on residents of one residential home. Individual people and their belongings/hobbies, for example Sohier’s work, and maybe even the journey style work of Soth and Garvi, depending on my accessible locations. I think if i spend each week doing a different set of images, then I can see where this leads and which style I want to pursue after Christmas and when I start refining my ideas to focus more on my portfolio and degree show. I will continue researching photographers as a basis and inspiration for what I’m doing.
Social documentary photography – the recording of humans in their natural condition with a camera.
In the first term of year 3 I plan to experiment quite a lot with social documentary of people and places. I’m interested in photographing people along with objects and environments in which they spend time; the relationship between a person and their environment in which they live or work in on a daily basis. I also want to think about communities and identities and how I could photograph these things; and where I could begin finding these people to photograph.
My time is split between Nottingham and my hometown in Yorkshire, two areas with different types of communities. I may start by photographing in both places in this first term and just keep exploring different subjects. I’ve been out today and walked around an area in Nottingham close to where I’m living and immediately saw many interesting photo opportunities just with the buildings that exist there. I plan to walk around again but with my camera and see what I can get.