Post a single line of text or an image which could act as a creative catalyst for a piece of photographic work. That was this week’s brief … …
From this starting point, students naturally formed into pairs or groups of three based on how well they felt pieces of text posted by fellow students resonated with them and responding accordingly with comments of their own.
I find ad hoc projects easier to come up with. I always have and it’s been the same when I’ve been involved with developing business names in my capacity as a business consultant. It’s a sort of “tip off the tongue” thing – try and think of something and it’s almost impossible: you know you know it, but it’s “on the tip of your tongue” … …
So, I was very surprised when I had a “lightbulb” moment almost immediately after reading the brief.
“Seasons of mists and mellow fruitfulness” – the first line of “To Autumn” by John Keats.
That was my personal starting point.
Fellow students Jo and Kevin posted the following respectively:
“If you have fairy blood, even in the tiniest degree, you must live close to Fairy Land, and eat a little fairy food, or else you will always be hungry.”
Kevin Darling-Finan, date unknown. Fish – Bradford Abbas, Dorset
From these three initial contributions, Jo, Kevin and myself found ourselves drawn to the common theme of autumn, but viewed with three different sub-themes in mind: fairy folklore, autumnal harvests and autumnal recipes.
Having formed our team of three and established a theme for our micro project, we embarked upon identifying a viable method of presenting our work.
Should the work be presented as three separate themed photographs with appropriate dialogue? Or, a triptych, again with accompanied by relevant commentary?
Kevin suggested that the ideal vehicle to carry our idea would be an autumn themed magazine. This concept met with eager enthusiasm from both Jo and myself and was immediately adopted.
Within 24 hours we had formed a team, agreed themes and sub-themes, identified a method of presenting our output. Within 36 hours we had an initial layout for our eight-page publication.
By Wednesday afternoon all three team members had taken their sub-theme based images and prepared relevant accompanying articles. Jo did an amazing job of using her Photoshop skills to bring the magazine together – thank you Jo.
The following images are taken from our magazine … …
A page clearly combining all three sub-themes: Jo’s fairy folklore, Kevin’s foraging & autumn harvest, and autumn recipes
We are all very proud of our magazine.
Working collaboratively with Jo and Kevin has been a pleasure. I would very happily form a team of three and work with them both again in a heartbeat. I sincerely hope that we can find more opportunities to collaborate again in the future.
Several other teams were formed in addition to ours and each presented their own project.
“A place for broken things” was a presentation of three triptychs, each triptych having been produced by one team member using an image of their own and two images provided by their colleagues. Working to a restricted palette, the three triptychs varied in style, maintaining the individuality of the photographers, but clearly conveyed the message of the project’s theme. It was noted that the team felt constrained by time and the question was asked as to whether the team felt this was due to them being located in three separate time zones. Notwithstanding this perceived constraint, the team worked cohesively in order to produce a powerful piece of photographic work.
In another presentation, the human form and its interaction with nature were explored. Monochromatic headshots, taken using hard directional light, subtly blended with images of plants having established uses as natural remedies. I personally found that presenting black and white images gave them significant impact, I did wonder, however, how much impact the images would have had had they been presented in colour. Thought provoking, this presentation achieved its aim in forcing me to contemplate the interactions between humans and the environment. It also made me question why humans see themselves as being detached from nature when, in reality, they are just another member of the animal kingdom.
So, in summary, the output from our micro-project clearly demonstrates that remote working is an effective method for like-minded individuals to combine their knowledge, skills and experience on collaborative projects.
This has been a thoroughly enjoyable activity and an amazing week. I have taken an enormous amount of enjoyment from this project and from being part of this team as have my colleagues and friends Jo and Kevin.