On Reflection … Week 1, Module Two

And onwards to Module Two.

Despite still not having fully recovered from the cold virus which decided to join the household at Christmas, the first week back to studying came as a welcome event.

“Where are you now?”

This was the first question out of the box for week one of module two.

And so followed a very interesting self-analysis of my photography, where it has been, where it is now and where I envisage it going in the future.

I have to say that I found this a good way to ease back into studies post-Christmas break. Feedback from fellow students was very insightful and most encouraging – certainly suggesting that my project proposal and associated work in progress is being viewed receptively (which certainly hasn’t been the case in some quarters).

Having established, or at least having had a stab at establishing, where I am, what next?

The next concept with which to wrestle was the ontological nature of my photographic practice.

In layman’s terms – what are the characteristics of my photography?

Not such an easy concept to appreciate. I think we are much more accustomed to thinking about our photographic “style” than we are of thinking about our photography in terms of “characteristics”.

I think the idea of how my photography exists, the form it takes, and how this translates into an “entity” appreciable by its characteristics is something that needs incubation, an idea that needs to germinate. This is something I intend to continue to look into because I think defining the “nature” of my photography is inextricably linked to further defining the audience for my work.

First thoughts, though, I think it both fair and accurate to say that I felt a degree of resonance with Szarkowski’s analysis of what a photograph is and how its “form” may change (Szarkowski, J. 1980. The Photographer’s Eye. London, Secker and Warburg).

On a different tack … …

In terms of my project proposal, I have continued to look into how the techniques of the great masters can be applied effectively in order to produce images which have a social relevance.

Why the need for a “social relevance”? Well, apparently, the concept of having a social relevance to my images is the strongest and most appealing facet of my proposal (incidentally, not a theory I necessarily subscribe to but I’ve picked up the ball and I’m running with it … …).

How do I happily marry these two concepts? This has been, shall I say, a “thorny” issue, at times a seemingly intractable problem.

Finding a “vehicle” which will successfully carry two seemingly different ideas, each of which could exist as discrete projects in their own right, hasn’t been easy, it’s taken some thought.

“The scales have fallen from his eyes.”

One possible narrative may be to look, progressively, at our relationship with food as it extends from production to consumption. This is an interesting area for exploration, and something I would like to look at closely – but in another time and another place.

Much more interesting for me (at least at the moment), is an exploration of the social, ethical and political issues associated with how we produce, consume (or do not consume) our food.

Oh, and not forgetting to mention that during the last week I saw an image which sparked an idea for a very different way in which some of my still-life images could be photographed. Something I am looking forward to experimenting with.

And finally … …

This week’s webinar was initially viewed with the usual level of trepidation. However, a new year and a new start … … and a new format.

Out with presentations, in with tutor-led question and answer sessions.

The new format was very unexpected. Most students had prepared the previously obligatory PowerPoint slides – the very small number that hadn’t had experienced technical issues preventing this. Initially, there was some slight vexation that the presentations wouldn’t be needed. However, there was unanimous post-webinar agreement that the new formula was a winning one.

Consensus was that the question-and-answer style made for a much more relaxed environment which, in turn, was much more conducive to learning. By mutual agreement, all students felt that they had taken something highly beneficial away from the webinar which had been a positive experience. This is most certainly true in my case.

Long live the new webinar format say I, a sentiment which I know is very much echoed by my fellow students!

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