The feedback for Assignment 4 was very encouraging and has given me plenty to think about as I approach the final part of Identity and Place. The theme of the assignment was more interesting than previous ones as, to a certain extent, it was back on familiar territory from previous modules. I have always responded positively to words and pictures, and am often inspired by music with songs and lyrics. What was particularly encouraging was the he reacted positively to the way that I attempted to break out of the usual pattern of my assignments, and try something a little different. He said that I “produced an assignment that feels like you have taken more ownership” and “pushed your conceptual input, which is a big step”. For me, breaking away from straight up photographs is something that I have wanted to do but not been brave enough to have a go for an assignment. Here was my chance, and it was a good chance. I felt that I had actually pushed past something in me that had been holding back. I did enjoy the assignment in the end, and it was a strong idea that stuck early on but the enhancement into something different is what I found satisfying and the fact that my tutor was positive about it too meant a lot to me.
His recommendations are very valid. He has suggested that I make more images to present, and incorporate the threads more into teach one. “This would also allow you to push the idea of the thread further, entwining it deeper into your photographs as you have with, The Sea 4. I really like the way that you have used the thread to work with the image, wrapping around the handrail, twisted wood on the beach and the woman. I feel that I would like to see more of this process, working with your other photographs, weaving in and out of the objects/seascapes, providing a link between each location and story. “ I think that this is something that I will pursue once I have finished as I would like to have a break from the intensity of this assignment to give me a bit of distance, and get on with the final one before returning to it later. There is more work to be done on all of them, but distance in time works well for me and I can achieve some clarity.
Interestingly, not long after I had submitted my work, the Magnum newsletter came up and on it was an article on a photographer who used the Shipping Forecast to inspire his work. Mark Power :
It tells how he was inspired over the course of four years to travel to each of the areas on the forecast to make images that reflect the sense of being a ‘landlubber’ rather than the sea going people. The images are all black and white and have wide ranging themes, each is captioned by the shipping forecast for that area on that day. It is an interesting idea and project, and while he captures mainly people my feeling is that I would have approached the whole thing from the point of view of places. That is what makes us all different I suppose.
Overall, it feels as though I have taken a step forward to a different place of thinking about photography and while I was apprehensive in submitting the work that I had done, it is good to know that I am on the right track away from the norm for me. I am planning to incorporate the changes that Chris Coekin has suggested and I look forward to doing that in due course.
Tutor Suggested Research:
1 Hiroshi Sugimoto
“Every time I view the sea, I feel a calming sense of security, as if visiting my ancestral home; I embark on a voyage of seeing.” Seascapes.
This website has several of his work series, and what I found fascinating is the way that they are all very alike, in the way that they are presented. He present three images from each series, black and white image, side by side and they are all broadly the same ie Seascapes is a series of three black and white image where the sea takes up half of the frame and the sky the other half. Being in black and white there are varying shades of grey in there and how bright they are: one is very bright, one is very dark and one is almost blurred. Yet they all connect as a group.
https://www.sugimotohiroshi.com/seascapes-1 – I thought that it looked like the U2 cover No Line On The Horizon, and wondered if it had been done by him, or perhaps Inspired by him? Yes! It is a Sugimoto photograph that they used on the cover. Although it cause controversy when another artist claimed that they ad taken their idea, and while Sugimoto had given them usage of the photograph for free and endorsed the band, U2 had just paid for it which devalues the original.
The other one that struck me was on architecture, even more relevant now that I am doing Part 5 and there is a section on buildings and architecture. He deliberately blurs the buildings to see is they stand the test that it is possible to identify them even if they are just blurred outlines.
https://www.sugimotohiroshi.com/new-page-5 the Eiffel tower blurred, ‘erosion-testing’ the limit to which it can be blurred and still be recognisable. He questions how many of our building today will be as identifiable in the future?
I thought his work was really interesting in its simplicity and straightforwardness. There was no angle to it and while it is simple, there is a strong theme that ties them all together. It is this that the exercises in Part 5 of I&P are aiming to address, to have uniformity in the work that is about the work rather than the person doing the work.
2. Julie Cockburn
She machine sews over the top of found photographs. Again, this links back to another artist he suggested John Stezaker who used montage using old photographs and vintage postcards to subvert the meaning. She can change the meaning by sewing intricate patterns over the faces of the sitters, sometimes obscuring them completely. I found it interesting, but preferred the ones that looked more like scribbles and less measured. This image: https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2014/nov/28/embroidered-vintage-portrait-photography-julie-cockburn#img-7 reminded me of another album cover, this time Disclosure who’s album Settle and subsequent photos and covers feature a drawn image over the top of photographs of the band members and other animals. Likened this to Disclosure: https://store.disclosureofficial.com/*/*/Settle-br-CD-Album/2J6J0000000. I was interested to see that this idea had been fully explained by the design company https://www.studiomoross.com/casestudy/disclosure-art-direction/ but again there were claims of plagiarism by another artist at them using his idea. Maybe nothing is unique anymore.
3. Thomas Joshua-Cooper
I looked at his work but was not as engaged with this as the other two artists suggested. I found the images too pale and there was nothing that caught my attention when looking at them, apart from one. http://www.inglebygallery.com/artists/thomas-joshua-cooper/
Twilight – Rapids on the River Ness, The Weir, Dochgarroch, Inverness, Inverness-shire, Scotland, 2002-2014.
This was more abstract as it was a reflection of light on water but took more looking at it to fully appreciate the patterns and the tones in the image. As part of a series, it worked alright but I was not engaged with the whole series and moved on quite quickly.
Interesting as all this stemmed from me sewing three photographs together and my tutor suggested looking at these as alternative viewpoints on the sea and the practice of sewing photographs.