I find myself in one of those horrible places where I can’t visualise my next assignment, I can’t remember being quite so adrift and devoid of ideas that I find stimulating. In my current financial situation there is not much room for travelling about for the assignment and so I am stuck with what I can get to locally. I wanted to do something that was not just “my trip from A to B” which seems rather plain and obvious, I was looking at the idea of my journey from a boy to manhood based on the places I have worked, many of which no longer exist, but even this is not lighting the pilot light. I have looked hard for any books on Aldershot that take us on a journey I could recreate but that has so far drawn a blank. I would love to have done a Jack the Ripper style tour based on all the murders over the years in the area but the definitive book is not released until November by Keith Bean.
I really need to find a way to jump-start the creative juices as I am having a flat moment right now. One day I will be able to just rush off and do my own thing can’t wait for level 3 and my body of work.
Text is something that comes up in almost every module it seems to be something of an obsession with the course writers. I was fortunate enough to see the work of Michael David Murphy called “Unphotographable” at Brighton in 2012, my first visit to the Biennial. I remember being really taken by this work as it created the image in my mind rather than with my retina, which enabled me to create my own fantastic version of the story. As an avid reader of fantasy fiction since I was around 12 years old, I am really familiar with the joy of creating the image in your mind as you read and how this is often ruined when they make a film about your favourite book.
In this exercise I was tasked with taking a trip and writing notes, I took a walk along the Blackwater Valley Route and found it stirred lots of memories and some strong emotions, particularly at what has happened to the landscape since I was a boy.
A thought provokingexercise is now complete. I have always enjoyed the concept of typology but looking at it from the pespective of the landscape has given me a new insight into my own odd photographic predjudice and got me re evaluating my likes and dislikes.
I finally completed exercise 2.1 I took the images last week but it took a while to source a copy of Two-lane blacktop my chosen road movie to watch. I have now finished writing it up and the exercise can be found here: Exercise 2.2: A Road
I finally finished the first exercise in part 2, I have to confess it took me longer than I would have liked firstly due to technical difficulties running out of toner in the laserjet so I could not read the paper properly then I had to read the article several times before it really sunk in what it was saying.
Once I sat dowanand really applied myself to the source material the meaning gave itself up to me and I was able to do the task set, which was to select two images not mentioned in the text and evaluate them with reference to the points made by Snyder in the text.
In the end it came down to the two types of Landscape Photography Snyder describes as Invitational and contra-invitational, and relates to the purpose and intention of the image, in the Invitational images created by Watkins the images are pleasing freandly and inviting and make you want to visit, where the images by O’Sullivan are hostile and surreal and are far less inviting, the former driven by a business need to encourage development of the land and the latter by a more scientific need to document the landscape.
Today the TV group held a bookmaking workshop led by the OCA Tutor Polly Harvey. It was a really fun day of bookmaking where we were taught to create 4 book styles, a simple folded board book, a sewn single signature book, a Japanese binding book and a french pleat book.
It was a very informative day which left us taking home 4 finished projects, I tried to take a few images with my phone but it was such a busy workshop I soon fell behind here are a couple of the early ones and some of the finished projects once I got home:
Having had my tutor feedback and the report I was keen to wrap up Assignment one while I was still resonating with it, and before moving on to the next part. Russell said I should not redo the work but experiment and stretch it further, I have commented elsewhere how I liked this approach and how it made me feel like I was pushing myself and developing my practice rather than redoing something I got wrong, this was a much more healthy and developmental approach for me.
The area we agreed I would explore was making a set of Diptychs again but this time exploring pairing the birdseye views and cropping and rotating and flipping to make the image work in context. I went with a square format for the crops and tried to match each one so that they resonate with each other compositionally. I initially put them on a border because I misheard Russell thinking he said the ones I did before were good (I did not like them) however, this was not the case so the final images have plain white borders. I also could not make the fourth set work together and although I love the images alone in the initial set they did not work as a Diptych, so I found two new images from the Sewerage plant visit and used them imitating a domino effect, and am much happier with the final result.
In a really quick turn around Russell booked a Hangout with me this evening and we spent a couple of hours discussing my work the degree and photography, it was a really helpful session and you can see the full feedback in the assignment section.
There were some opertunitiesto extend the work which for the first time in my degree felt like a discussion on pushing the work to further heights rather than, “I dont like that do it differently”, this felt much more educational and far more of a development of my practice than before, if I analyse it being told your work is wonderful leave it just as it as you have it, is nice but does not streach you as an artist or photographer, also being told “I really don’t think that is any good do something else” tends to dampen the enthusiasm, I felt Russell hit this ballance right on the fulcrum, he made me feel that he liked what I had done and that it was well developed, we discussed the project and he told me that he really liked the work I had done playing with Diptychs and that he felt I could push this further in an experimental way of moving the assignment beyond its current resting place.
I loved this discourse and the fact I am not fighting degree deadlines any moreand so I can take the time to push my work further. I will be experimenting with the ideas that came out of the session and looking at the Diptychs again.
To clarify what may read as an odd comment from the tutor report, Russell commented that I needed to look at colour balance in two of the images and mentioned “we discussed what caused this which is quite peculiar”.
The cause is indeed quite peculiar and is unique to the current revision of DJI go and the Phantom 4 Pro, when you take an image with the camera gimble pointing directly down there is a bug that throws out the colour balance making everything have a orang/brown colour tint. The cure is to clear the video cache and reboot the drone and controller, none of which makes much sense when compaired to a conventional camera but is “a thing” with the complex interplay between hardware and software in a sophisticated drone like a Phanto 4 Pro.
I await a software patch that will cure this, but in the mean time I have a work around for the problem, it was fairly simple to correct the slight blue tint I had added correcting the images and this was the corrected result:
I finally finished the first leg of A1 Beauty and the Sublime, I have handed it in metaphorically, i.e. I sent Russell an email to notify him it was ready for a Tutor assessment, and I am looking forward to seeing what he thinks of it. I am also looking forward to my first of the new video conference feedback sessions which I am told are very productive indeed. I am partly expecting that Russell will want me to trim back from 12 to 9 images, we shall see, I found it hard to do that as I am too invested in them. I have already exiled one of my favourite images because It was too similar to others that worked better. I may be wrong we shall see I should not try to second guess Russell. I am much more willing and open to change on this assignment as I would like it to be a learning exercise that sets me up for the rest of the module.