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personal Graham King

Flower Arranger

Personal Semiotics

In this image I tried to make an image where the true character and meaning are drawn from personal semiotics.

For about 4 years I have been helping Graham write a book on flower arranging this image was take at the Silk Mill in Whitchurch, a site of very specific meaning to both Graham and I as we have been there a dozen times with different flower arrangements to photograph them set in an industrial scene for Grahams Book. The book being split into different themes. The Silk Mill has been a real friend to us giving us unparalleled access to the machinery so Graham is set here holding part of an arrangement that will decorate the water wheel something we have been trying to get right since 2012 delayed both buy the arrangements not working and a complete restoration of the wheel.

Group Brian Glover

Gutarist

Group Semiotics

Brian is an awesome guitarist he has a passion for stringed instruments and has played in a number of bands over the years, he is pictured here in his music shed with his guitar and all of his sound desk and recording studio around him.

For me Brian is defined by his love of music and his passion for playing the guitar when you go to see him he will invariably have a stringed instrument in his lap and will pluck out all sorts of sounds and styles while still holding down a sensible conversation about anything else.

Brian is a cleaver chap who makes his living in the world of software but the thing that best describes him for me is playing his guitar and nowhere could be more pertinent than his music shed, which is filled with instruments a sound desk computers and even a drum kit belonging to his nephew who often comes round to jam.

public Rev’d Neil Lambert

Vicar St Mary’s Ash Vale

Public Semiotics

Neil is obviously a religious man, a member of the church of England and is the current vicar of St Mary’s Church Ash Vale, and I am very proud to say a personal friend.

My conversations with Neil to determine his inner character have taken place over a number of years since I joined his congregation, Neil is passionate and deeply caring always wanting to help people even to his own determent, he has been back and forth to Calais meeting and making friends with the refugees helping to gather wood and food and supplies to stop them becoming ill and to relieve their burdens.

Neil is a source of much love and spiritual comfort to the community of Ash Vale so there is no better surrounding than the alter of his church to define him seen here standing in a pose representative of the cross symbolic of his office.

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Reflective Commentary

This exercise was designed to explore further the link between an individual’s personality and the location the image is set in. I decided to take it a little further and explore the world of semiotics as an explanation of this link.

The goal is to test the link between personal, group and public semiospheres, and to investigate the affect they have on an individual’s ability to read an image.

When selecting my subjects, I considered how their individual characters could be woven into the idea of Private, group and public awareness.

Private Awareness

The subject for private awareness was my good friend Graham King, who is a flower arranger and book writer. Over the last four or five years he has been making a book on flower arranging and I have been taking the photographs for it. This process involves going to many strange locations setting up a flower arrangement and photographing it for the book.

The image was shot at the Silk Mill in Whitchurch a location we have used on multiple occasions. I chose this location as it is so intrinsically woven into the book. The silk loom behind him link the image to the mill while the arrangement in his hand tells of the flower arranger. These elements combined draw my mind to the book and the work we have done to complete it. I see the man in the picture as an artistically driven man trying to produce a book that is a work of art. I see the man who would not make a move without the approval of my Mum who was his mentor and I am reminded of a man who showed so much kindness to my Mum in the last months of her life. None of this sits in any group or public domain therefore this image will always be very personal.

Group

For my group image I chose to shoot Brian in his music shed, my logic was that there are many people who would understand what is happening in the image and there is not a complex under-plot that can’t be unraveled without prior knowledge. Not everyone will understand that musicians sit in their studio playing and instrument into a sound capture desk and mix it all together to make the final song. There are however a group of people who do.

Public

I am not sure that the public image was successful, I think it conveys the sentiment that Neil is a man of God. My premise was that one of the most public signs is the cross, though this is debateable. The cross above the alter would not fin in the image so I made Neil stand in the form of a cross against the alter.

Conclusion

I do feel that there is merit in the semiosphere concept, and it warrants further study, I am happy with each of the images and think they succeeded in demonstrating each concept. I did learn that personal semiosphers become groups as you share them but I think thats obvious, anyone who reads and understands this exercise will be part of my personal semiosphere and it will become a group rather than personal.

It may be that in the end a semiosphere is not defined this way but rather just by the number of members it has. More work is needed to uncover the truth of this in the end I do think I conveyed something about each subject based on their surroundings.