So its been a good few weeks since we began Phonar, and this is almost like a diary entry of how Phonar has been treating me so far.
Gerry Badger- What Cannot Be seen
Task One was definitely very interesting. Initially it seemed perfect for me, my assignment giver was a writer first and foremost rather than a photographer. The task was more about concepts and the importance of thinking rather than the final photographic outcome. The task seemed so perfect for me, yet I found it so hard.
Something I really enjoyed that I have never heard or thought of doing was taking a portrait of my author. I think it proves how much research you’ve been doing, if you have spent time getting to know your author then it will show. I really liked working out how my task giver would have his workspace, how he’d have writing splatter all over his desk with a classic English cup of tea. The next element was photographing in the same style as Badger. This was completely out of my comfort zone. I’m not confident with landscape/ urban photography, even though I love spending my time outside walking. I feel like I made a good attempt trying to get into Badger’s shoes, thinking about what he would do if he were living in my village. And actually I learned an incredible amount, focusing away from the obvious traits my location has.
Finally, the completing my assignment. This was hard for me, I gave up a bizzilion times, threw my books under my bed and even cried over it. I’m so use to this kind of work, yet it was so different. One thing that I have learned about my style of working is that once I have some ideas I just need to start to photograph and experiment, if I don’t I question myself. The quote badger used of “Using words to amplify your imagery”, is something that will stick with me for the rest of my photographic adventure. I suppose I’m happy with my final piece, I feel like it makes an impact and that’s what I wanted to do, like with all my work. I also tried to use the way Badger controls yet shows his opinions in his writing. I’m hopeful to see what Badger was wanting from people undertaking his assignment, with any luck I will have created a completely different approach.
Melissa Harris- Exquisite Corpse
This assignment was a group one, which was then spilt into smaller groups. It was all about making a body out of all of our bodies. And for me it reminded me of when I was younger having a book that was spilt into thirds where you could create a random monsters body with each flick of a section. I feel like I took control of the group making sure everyone’s opinions were heard. I chose the location that was a garden just behind the transport museum. I thought it was a pretty location, especially because the sun was shining, and Dan had come up with the idea of lying down on the grass. We all then took each others images just like Harris has suggested, and then I went back and photoshopped us all together. I edited as much as much as I could before it became too distorted, but looked enough like one body.
As this was a group task, it was fascinating to see that everyone’s was completely different. Ours was made to look like it was one body, whereas there was a Flipagram one showing some personality and movement of bodies and there was another that was collaged together. Even though we all got the exact same task, everyone’s was different and it’s given me more of a push to work with others to experiment to understand individuality. What started out as a childish school game, actually turned into something that was powerful and really pushed the idea of identity.
Christine Shank- One-Hour Photo Project
I was so excited by this project; I love the idea of it. We did something similar with Matt in first year and I loved the idea of creativity and using items I may or may not use daily. It was a really simple task of basically having one hour to experiment and play as much as you can do with the item in your bag.
My object turned out to be chalk. Initially I wasn’t that thrilled about it, but the more I thought about it the more I realised I could make a photograph with an impact. I began by going somewhere quite bleak in Coventry (between the swimming pool and Priory hall), I don’t quite know why, I guess my senses were telling me this happy chalk needed to be used in an unhappy place. Firstly I used positive and motivating quotes along the side of the wall that perhaps would help the people who see it like it has helped me, but it looked more like an old Tumbler post, something that didn’t have the impact that I was hoping for. So I sat with the chalk, just using on the floor seeing what would happened. Then I began to notice the textures on the floor, the gravel seemed to create these different layers. To me it looked like the flowers back home on the farmer’s fields.
I finally had the idea to create a route that has bought me happiness that will hopefully help someone else. I experimented with using flowers and weeds in the picture, but actually the chalk alone was what I was wanting. I’m actually really happy with my final outcome, I like my concept and its something I realise I have a strength for. And my most exciting outcome is how much I love receiving an item and having to experimenting with it. I LOVE IT!
Group feedback was really helpful; people gave me the idea of looking into my archive to find images of this route. I could also use other senses, like smell or sound to create an experience and I could expand this and do a various locations that make me happy throughout the other bleak places of Coventry. I love that we are doing this feedback, I find it really helpful because I get exposed to new ideas and I find other people in my class that I like and it sparks ideas off in my mind for the future.
Shawn Records- Out of Your Head
This was another exciting project for me. I love going to new places, but I was sceptical of what I might find there. The idea for the project was to use Records table along with dice to determine your new location.
I ended up walking 6 minutes, northwest to take three images of what I find. Adapting is new to me, I like to complete the task in the was the author has set it, but actually slightly altering this task meant we were able to get more out of the assignment. Its something I need to consider in the future. So I got my compass out and began my new adventure, slightly nervous if I must say so because it took me into an unknown and slightly sketchy part of Coventry. When I got there it was my idea of hell! It was facing the ring round. However, I did what Records wanted and took my images, firstly of the ring road as this was my destination and then I decided to take one directly behind me. My final image was interesting to me as my shadow was going in the same direction as the compass needle but I also got the construction signs for the ring road in to incorporate where I might me. I’m not a fan of this kind of landscape work, and I’m not sure this has helped me have a passion for it, but I loved going to a new place and becoming a hunter and explorer. It’s something I’d definitely like to do more of.
Form- what is it physically, monochrome/ colour, portrait/ landscape, image/video e.c.t.
Content- what’s actually in the image, what can we see directly
Concept- what is the image about, what can we explore more, different routes it can take us
This was a simple group task split into three parts; mediate, write ten photography projects you’d love to do and write ten photography projects to do with a specific person.
Firstly, I am a newbie to this mediation thing, but I love it. It really worked on me and it was like going into a weird nap that was putting my focus into a different place. I’m going to take this on and aim to do it a couple of weeks because I genuinely think it will help my mind set.
The ten photographic projects task seems daunting at first, but I actually found that I have a lot to do. If I had to pick one of these to undertake it would be doing a walk along the Pacific Crest Trail. If I had no limitations in this world, I could be capable of a lot of things, its up to me to decide how big these limitations I set myself are. It also surprised me because I have a common interest with looking at historical concepts and something that has a lot of research to it, but looking back at these ten quick ideas, they all seem to be very free and adventurous. Maybe I should pay more attention to this reflection.
For the ten projects to do with someone else, I picked an invisible friend. As a child I loved mine, especially being an only child. And even now I talk to myself, maybe it’s to my invisible friend! Anyway I thought it was a cute and interesting project and it has a lot of ideas surrounding it. It wasn’t a serious project at the start but maybe it could be. Anyway, this has given the confidence to begin a diary to note down my ideas whenever they pop into my head. Limitations will always be there, but the project can still be done even if it’s in a few years when I’m photographing in a completely different style or in a different place.
Aline Smithson- Words and Ideas
Like Shank, Smithson has a clear set of instructions for the task. Photograph your answers to her questions. I started by answering the questions I found the easiest. For example, what would you be if you weren’t a photographer or what do you love about photography. Its made me realise how this task isn’t about the pictures we put online, its about how we answer them, how well we actually know ourselves and I began to understand who I was as a person.
I thought about and experimenting with things like Flippagram, but actually I think it’s the simplest answers that informs you of who you are. I probably found the first and the last answer the hardest. I used my encounter with Gerry Badger and his “use words to amplify your images” to answer Smithson. In the end, I used a lot of archived images. This is something I experimented with Sian in last terms module, and it’s something I love doing. I love the historical, identity concept to images that need reminding of their existence. I also like this because its something I would have never done, I would have never photographed my souvenir pencil collection, but it was great to photograph because it’s a habit I have and therefore it’s apart of me and who I am. This isn’t just some great group icebreaker, this is teaching a person who they are and it was great to get out of the serious concepts I surround myself with in my work. Those images that have everything we search for are often there; we just need to search through a folder to find them again.
Overall, I’m surprising myself with Phonar. Before we actually started it I thought I would hate it because I love long-term projects and developing concepts. But with these quick tasks I’m thinking outside my “bubble” and it’s so nice to just be using out camera rather then being so serious. I can’t believe we have done six tasks in one week already! So far it’s a nice creative break. Let’s see how next week turns out with the workload increasing!