Photography Is Simple
What is it about?
Both the title of the assignment and the ideas I’d picked up in completing the exercises for part 5 made me think about the possibility of using a simplistic approach and of rethinking ideas about time. I wanted to stay away from the intensely personal for a while, and so the initial ideas were around visiting somewhere close over and over again and using that place to explore photography as a medium rather than using photography to explore that place. I found myself thinking about Fox-Talbot’s desire to represent nature and the processes he developed to enable him to do that and so I decided to concentrate on a local forest.
There’s something appealing to me about using the inherent unpredictability of nature to make images of nature as it moves away from the overly perfected images I frequently see that both create a sense of sterility and keep pushing ideas of perfection in human life. That’s why I produced both lumen prints and cyanotypes as a part of this work. It introduces a very unpredictable, uncontrollable element to the process. I also produced images using film, polaroids – including emulsion lifts, digital manipulation, anthotypes with beetroot and with ferns, and I created mono prints the plates of which I then used to make further reverse cyanotypes (a variation on cliche-verre). I would have liked to have explored further, but lack of equipment was a hinderance and so I am left with a sense of incompleteness.
I used the whole forest as a subject initially, but then moved onto the bracken because of the simple repeating shape it presented. I’m not sure the result has been about the images as much as it has been about the process of experimentation and the realisation that I cannot stay away from the personal in photography. There is a sense of frustration for me in perfection and the way that certain aspects of life; the ugliness of it all, the mundanity, unpredictability, accidents, illness, dirt, mess, decay and death (for some the ultimate failure, and so we are all doomed to fail), are kept hidden; had I been able to use even more unpredictable techniques to make images I would have preferred to have included those and I feel a great desire to create something in the actual environment to represent it’s hidden side that the commodification of this particular place denies. There is a link to ideas about self promotion, that people have willingly commodified themselves. I am not far enough along in my exploration to have fully clarified my thoughts on it.
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