10th April 2018
I thought it was time to look at updating assignment 1. I am nearing the end of the course and after my tutor feedback on A3 I am trying to be more organised, less rushed and less ‘last minute’ about everything. So I’m looking over the course material to check I’ve understood the points made, to follow up any research I didn’t look at initially and to ensure I am taking on and actioning the points made by my tutor. At the beginning of the course I felt that I wanted to look at other people’s ideas after I’d processed and developed my own and that feeling has now changed significantly. Really I think that’s been one of my main learning points, but in the context of distance learning I found that research difficult as initially I did not have access to a physical library and everything was online which is just not as helpful for me personally. The physicality of the text is important to me, perhaps it’s the same with images which raises interesting questions. I think it may be about narrowing down – knowing what I can take seriously and what is dross. There’s so much information online how do I know which sources to trust or take seriously? It’s something else too though about a physical connection to the work that makes it more impactful and I think that’s a really important realisation in the context of photography and the digital medium in which it is now most commonly viewed and shared.
Reflecting on my tutor feedback
There was a feeling of ambivalence that came across in the work which he mentioned it would be good to return to; I do have mixed feelings about being here in Dorset. Also he idea that I was looking at this area I find myself in without trying to be a part of it. The main theme he picked up on was ‘home’, and he suggested that I should reflect on this theme to make updates. There was this idea of it being about becoming part of an environment / place / area whether national, local or domestic. He also suggested I map out themes and sub-themes for myself and look at the work of Martin Parr, Si Barber, Simon Roberts and Val Williams. I followed up all of these as suggested, but perhaps at the time wasn’t able to make as much use out of that initial research as I feel I can now.
My thoughts about themes
Themes for me were feeling disconnected and not fitting in – so of not feeling at home. Of not being allowed to be part of the countryside at some level. There is certainly a sense of me wanting to and waiting to escape. I feel (and felt) on the threshold of many things; I think that’s part of the reason I wanted the images to be through something – guns through the window for example. It’s about thresholds. I suppose having just started EYV at that point also constituted a threshold that I felt I was standing at.
Thinking again about how well the assignment meets the various criteria:
The assessment criteria points are:
- demonstration of technical and visual skill (40%)
- quality of outcome (20%)
- demonstration of creativity (20%)
- context (20%)
I have to say I am finding this aspect of examining my work extremely difficult. It’s difficult to assess my own level in any of these areas, it’s hard to emotionally and psychologically separate off from my own work because I know why I took these images and what they mean to me; it’s hard to step back even after this amount of time.
Looking at the assignment now, I’m not totally happy with it. I know I have images to change. I think my favourite is this one.
My favourite image from A1
I can see that there are problems with it technically; the cloud in the top left particularly annoys me. That’s partly down to equipment and if I took it again I could now make significant improvements as I have better lenses and know what to look for – I’d take it under different conditions – perhaps at sunset as that might add to the message I was trying to convey? But in terms of a message it works and so despite technical flaws I think I will leave it as is, because it also communicates an authenticity about where I was as a photographer at that time. It still explains how I feel about where I am, that it is somehow not for me and that I am cut off from it and not allowed to take part.
Demonstration of technical and visual skill
I think as a whole the assignment does demonstrate that I have visual awareness, design and compositional skills, but certainly technical skills are lacking; I did know that and mentioned it in my notes to my tutor that accompany this work.
Quality of outcome
The quality of outcome is affected by the lack of technical skills. The content doesn’t hang together as much as I’d like it to, I’m not sure if a theme comes across well without referring to the written part of the assignment so that’s reflecting that perhaps my thoughts weren’t totally clear. I had never taken an image with the idea of using it in a set or conveying a message; until then any photograph I had taken had been about a single image and some potential beauty or interest I had seen in a subject. But in this assignment I had a feeling I was trying to convey in the set, and I think overall I managed that, despite some images not communicating what I thought they would.
An image that didn’t say what I wanted it to
Demonstration of creativity
I think I am becoming more creative as I go through the course. I took a lot of images for this assignment and I also took instant images. I would have liked to work with film which is a suggestion my tutor mentioned for A5. I took images from moving cars, images that were pure experiments that I feel worked well to convey a mood.
I certainly spent a lot of time thinking about this assignment. But I really didn’t do much research at all. Initially I found it hard to reflect on feedback as by the time I had finished I just wanted to move on to something new. Hopefully I am now correcting those deficiencies with this reflection and with further work. I did start to think about some of the ideas my tutor mentioned, but that research was all after the work, not during and before. Until a few months ago the research in terms of looking at the work of other photographers has been a real weakness for me.
4th July 2018
Amendments to the assignment – plan
I will take more images, trying to replace those that didn’t work, especially the underpass image which I think might work with a wider lens that shows more of the countryside on the left of the image balanced with the graffiti on the right.
I would like to take more images of the old railway bridge. It’s in the background of one of the images and it’s where I found the swastika graffiti. It goes nowhere; for me it is a symbol of a town that is cut off; it’s almost a symbol of Brexit, of a town that I feel has now chosen to cut itself off. I think the images need proper titles which may aid understanding by providing more context.
In terms of my final presentation of this assignment I will leave it there; I don’t want to change too much but I would like to explore the themes further.
Ideas for further exploration
I think Brexit is really important because it’s part of the reason I feel unable to make a home; unable to commit to remaining in England when everything I think of as Britishness has been so fundamentally undermined. I cannot become part of this local environment when I know from my experiences and those of my children that some people believe that as Jewish people, we shouldn’t be here; the graffiti backed that up visually. I suppose I am left wondering if in North Dorset 23,802 people would like to see me shipped off elsewhere, despite the fact that I, my parents and all of my grandparents were born in London?
I know that those ideas are spread nationally and apply to people from a range of backgrounds and cultures; they always have done. It’s just that it has now become acceptable for some of our national newspapers and our politicians to express them.
I think this is where the feeling of ambivalence comes from; I now have mixed feelings about Britain, being British and what that means. I don’t feel part of a culture that has decided they don’t like immigrants; that is essentially what this vote seemed to be about. Personally I enjoy the richness and variety that immigrants bring. It is part of the reason I enjoyed my time living in New York and it is why I miss living in London so much; being amongst a wide range of people from different background and cultures, different religions and experiences, is enriching. Brexit is the antithesis of this.
The strength of feeling I have about the importance of the EU means that for some, I am unwelcome here because I identify too strongly as European. I am being told that I should go and live in Europe; this has now been said to me several times. The problem is I already live in Europe. Lesley lives in Europe too, she just doesn’t seem to understand that. I have been accused of not being ‘true British,’ (whatever that means), and of not understanding democracy.
There are a lot of posts on this blog about Brexit (please use tag cloud for a list). I have looked at the work of Wolfgang Tillman and I like his approach – there is the inclusion of documentation which I think is important. I would like to explore the fracturing of images using prisms or tearing, and I would like to use Google maps along with electoral commission data to produce artwork about this issue.
Some of my images from “Bollocks to Brexit: The People’s Vote march, June 2018
11th July 2018
Ammendmants to the assignment – images I am considering.
The first image I wanted to work on was the underpass; the location says something to me, but it’s not something I am communicating. I think that there is a frustration that I still feel cut off from the land. I can see this vista in front of me, the river, the trees, it all looks perfect. But I am not able to reach it. The actual bridge gives it the sense of feeling a bit more like the city visually, but there are also the sounds of cars overhead; they mingle with the faint hum and buzz that seems to come from the river.
Thinking about the feeling of ambivalence, I wondered if splitting the image in half might help to suggest that? I’ve tried it in a few images.
I’m adding these images now so I can let them settle for a few days, see what I think each of them might add (or take away) when added to the original set. I have to be careful that I don’t fundamentally alter the overall feel of the original submission.