Notes from My First Tutorial

In which a photography degree feels more like a psychology degree.

On 20th July I had my first tutorial via Skype. It’s odd, this course feels more like psychology than photography in some ways. A few things stand out: I admit to my tutor that I don’t take pictures of people as I find it difficult and intrusive, but all the photographs that mean anything to me are of people. I tell him that I feel totally disconnected from the place I find myself in; from the people and the place. So I’ve gone through the idea of going back to Northwood and through the idea of taking images in my current home.

I often feel trapped here. For the past two weeks I’ve been taking the same image every day of the view from my living room window. There’s a big fennel plant outside and I seem to be taking an image of the sky with the fennel in front of it. Sometimes I am trying to avoid a view of the buildings opposite and sometimes I am including them.

So I go right back to the idea of trying to show in images why I feel so disconnected from Dorset. Trying to show what Dorset feels like to me.

We discuss the question of what changes the way you relate to a space? e.g. My tutor talks about his garden and how his relationship to it has changed since it has changed to contain more plants. It’s the same space, but the relationship is different. He clearly feels different about it, and I can imagine exactly how he feels. I suspect he feels a greater connection to it. Now the space contains plants; plants need to be cared for. When you care for a space then it helps you connect with it. I suppose the same is true for a person. It is the act of caring for it that produces the feeling, the act comes first, the feeling of connection comes later? Is it beauty? A beautiful space is easier to connect to. Dorset is beautiful, so why can I not connect to it?

What does Dorset feel like to me? What is the disconnect between me and the place I am in? (It is worse since I’ve come back from living in New York, I know that much). If you go to a place that’s really posh or really poor, there are clues around you that can make you feel uncomfortable, like you don’t belong there. Is it something like that?

After the call, I wonder: is it that I hate Dorset, or that I am in love with London now? With cities and the myriad of life and people and experience that they offer.

I think that I also have this issue with people. I am feeling disconnected from everyone. Is it just a longing for novelty? No. When I walk through London, I feel the same as the people there. The same as the rich people, the poor people, the black people, the white people, the asians, the gay people, the odd people, the ordinary people. I feel like I know them, I know what they’re about and where they’re at. I feel a communion with them that I don’t feel with the people here. I have to work out how to show this in images. Deepest Dorset book.

Published by Sarah Cassin Scott


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