On Reflection: Week 1, FMP

The beginning of the Final Major Project (FMP) provides an opportunity to reflect on progress since September 2016.

Initial objectives for the MA were as follows:

To explore the knowledge, technology and methods employed by the old Dutch masters to control light, and how the atmosphere and aesthetics of food images are influenced by light and various lighting styles

Research the knowledge relating to the elements of design that was available to the old masters

Rationalising the symbolism used by the masters, evaluating their reasons for its use as well as the sources of their information.

Module two saw this exploration continue but with two project themes: Ten (recording the meals consumed by ten school children on the same March evening) and Junk Food, it began to take on an aspect of visual anthropology.

Module three saw a strong focus on the visual narrative – examining the process of story-telling – and its application in the development of images.

Module four’s Work in Progress, Carousel, built on research from all the preceding modules.

In my view, module four was very successful and positions me strongly for the FMP.

Research (to date) for the FMP has gone well and initial discussions regarding the concept have generated significant interest. Test shots for the project have also proved to be very successful.

How, though, do I move things forward? Does my current work meet the requirement for a critically and professionally informed, resolved body of work?

Clearly, for the FMP, there has to be continued, progressive improvement – but this is true of any artistic output.

A certain ‘punchiness’ is required of the FMP output. How can this be achieved?

I need to explore techniques which take me further away from my comfort zone, for example, by allowing my work to be informed by the early still-life images of Irving Penn.

Is it time to move away from my original objectives?

Recapping, the intention for my project was to explore the knowledge and techniques used by the old Dutch masters, and to use the acquired knowledge to produce a series of food-related still life images.

I want to retain some link to this objective. I also want to remain true to my specialism by including an element of food in my FMP images.

My objective, therefore, is to present my FMP images in still life form. However, I am open-minded with regard to this and intend to explore alternative presentations. It has been suggested that an element of repetition is creeping into my work, I don’t necessarily agree with this suggestion and prefer to take an alternative view, which is that my work is making use of the rephotography technique used in social science and visual anthropological studies.

I think the research into the work of the old Dutch masters, which has brought me so successfully to my present location, is not something to abandon – moreover, it is something to use as a foundation, it is something to build on, for example by exploring the work of Meredith Frampton and how the principles of the verism movement can be applied to my work.

In the main, happy with progress so far.

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