On Reflection … Week Two, Module One

Time has been a particular constraint this week, but purely from a logistical point of view.

Having introduced the subject of time, I found the following statement by the artist and photographer David Hockney to be very thought provoking: “Still pictures can be seen in a different way. You bring time to it (the picture), moving pictures bring time to you” (David Hockney, “Hockney on Photography”, Sky Arts)

Moving on … …

The task in hand has been to consider how interdisciplinary practice is already present in my photographic practice, how I might expand my practice through greater use of other disciplines, media and critical contexts.

The aim of photography in general is to purposefully create compositions that carry a clear message, are visually impressive and influential.

In real terms, the purpose of food photography is to produce images which portray the food’s intrinsic characteristics in order to stimulate, in the viewer, the sensation of hunger and a corresponding desire to consume the food they see.

In order to capture the true essence of the subject, it is essential that the photographer has an in-depth knowledge of the subject. To gain a sufficient knowledge of the subject requires the photographer to look beyond the subject and the photographic process and draw upon areas which lie outside photography.

There is a body of technical knowledge that underpins all photography irrespective of genre or subject. Each specific type of photography, however, draws upon a range of knowledge which derives from a variety of different disciplines. In relation to food photography, skills derived from a knowledge and experience of the culinary arts and design are allied to photographic knowledge.

Distilling this idea, the knowledge and experience that derive from these two areas of knowledge enable the intrinsic characteristics of the subject to successfully make the conversion from three-dimensional reality into a two-dimensional image.

In summary then … …

It has been enlightening to see the extent to which the different genres of photography draw upon other disciplines. Even within a relatively small group of students the range of interdisciplinary knowledge which is drawn upon is diverse and interesting.

Looking at other areas of knowledge that I draw upon in the practice of food photography has prompted me to look at my images, and most pertinently the process of making images, from perspectives other than my own as the photographer.

I think there is considerable scope for the quality of images to be improved if photographers consider the viewpoint of other professionals, in interdisciplinary terms, when making their images. Looking at a subject from differing viewpoints rather than exclusively through the viewfinder may allow the original photographic intention to be challenged and, consequently, improved upon.

Studying interdisciplinary subjects and contexts has not only given me a greater appreciation of the way in which images may be produced but also in the way that they may be consumed: in terms of how an image is used, the photographer’s intention at the time of the taking an image may not match the reality of how the image is finally used and by whom. To what extent is a photograph’s classification dependent upon the photographer’s intention, and to what extent is it dependent upon the end use of the image?

All-in-all an interesting and revelatory week.