All my assignments have been printed at A4 size and seen by Keith but for assessment I am considering printing on A3 paper leaving a reasonable sized border all around for handling purposes . I shall present these in an archival portfolio box . I used a Silverprint archival portfolio box for my DPP submission and was impressed with the professional appearance it gave to my submission.
Demonstration of technical and visual skills
I have used a variety of focal lengths and techniques . Encouraged by my tutor Keith I have additionally used historic photographs to support my narrative as standalone images. For both my 2nd and 3rd assignment I used a plain black background , something I decided not to do throughout this series , but I was rather concerned about creating a visually consistent set and had doubts as to whether this was a good idea. However it forced me out of my comfort zone and once I made my final choices and put the work together I was pleased with the outcome.
Quality of outcome
Choosing the images , both historic and new , and how to present them , was quite a task. Completing the assignment has taken me far longer than I initially anticipated. I feel they successfully convey a narrative but also believe they do need to be seen with the written component in order to be understood in context . I have added a gallery to my blog that allows both image and text to be viewed together that I think works well.
I have printed and posted all the images to Keith at A4 size on my favourite paper , Permajet fibre Base Royal 325 , which unfortunately has now been discontinued. The historic images have been scanned and printed on the same size paper but at a smaller scale . Prints will always form a part of any work I produce and send for assessment.
I am going to work on an initial pdf version using Blurb to sent to Keith over the weekend , and intend to order a book that can be sent for assessment alongside the prints . I am very pleased with the book I have recently received from Blurb of my assignment 3 work. I need to spend some time in the future looking at various photo-books and how they are laid out , but I shall keep it simple for the time being. I would love to make a home-made photo book but am totally unsure of how best to do this , it is something I will attempt at a later date.
Fellow student Stephanie’s post about designing books here is really informative and interesting.
I wavered between presenting the work in b&w or colour , finally deciding on the latter. As the course has progressed , and having to produce the 3rd assignment in colour , I have come to really enjoy processing my work in colour rather than b&w , it is perhaps more contemporary.
Demonstration of creativity
The documentary course has enabled me to use photography as a means of exploring subjective and personal emotions that over three assignments have evolved into a small body of work about time , memory and loss . I feel quite confident that the work shows elements of creativity and as in assignment 3 I have used some double exposures , a triple exposure (Evacuation) , along with diptych and triptych’s as a method of conveying personal thoughts and ideas.
Despite having used historical photographs before , and including them in either a diptych or double exposure , using them as standalone images is not something I have attempted for previous assignments . (Following Keith’s advice I amended my assignment 3 book dummy so that the historical images were each on their own page ) .
I have really struggled to keep up with the coursework owing to personal commitments and a nasty chest infection earlier in the year that put me back by a few weeks. However my blog is now nearly up to date , I have just a few exercises for the final section that need to be written up . I have researched some very interesting artists as suggested by Keith–* see list below–and found a few more when searching the internet too.
Their practice really influenced my approach to this final assignment. I have not visited any galleries recently nor managed to attend a student study day , which is something I really want (and need) to participate in but logistically it is not always possible . I am in touch with a few other student via their blogs and find this an invaluable source of support .
My 2nd and 3rd assignments were explorations of time , memory and loss. Further research into how other artists interpret these concepts has been a great influence and encouraged me to try and emulate their practice but I hope that I am slowly developing my own individual ‘voice’. Continuing with these themes my 5th assignment is about a man born in 1915 , the man I called ‘dad’ and whose early childhood was spent in Marazion ,Cornwall.
He has been dead for many years now , he hardly spoke about his past. As a child I was fascinated by the snapshots and mementoes kept by my parents in the small green case that now belongs to me . His possessions and old photographs are signifiers of his existence although he is no longer here.Yet the photographs of my dad as a young man conceal as much as they reveal.
I have incorporated dad’s once personal images to tell a story , yet the original photographs were never taken with that intention in mind.I have come to realise this assignment is a much about me as him , what I remember and how I choose to interpret it , my memories not his. Is it possible to ever know the truth about another persons life? I have tried to form an impression of him as a man but this is undoubtably biased by what I was told and remember , and also because of how I felt and still feel about him. I can only imagine and make up stories through my photography in an attempt to relate a brief and subjective retrospective narrative of his life.
Snapshots are becoming obsolete , memories kept on hard-drives , shared via social media and very rarely printed , imperfect images and mistakes easily erased. Hence ‘the advent of digital technologies means that this kind of photography has now taken on an extra memorial role’ which ‘suffuses snapshots with the aesthetic appeal of a seductive melancholy , whatever their actual age or the particularities of their subject matter’ (Batchen ,p.g 130) . As well as their status as an aide mémoire snapshots are also documents , they record private and communal histories. Personal and family photographs are amongst our most treasured possessions , ‘often said to be the thing we would rescue from a burning building’ ( Batchen ,p.g 136 ) .
‘There is a story told about the war criminal Ratko Mladić , who spent months shelling Sarajevo from the surrounding hills . Once he noticed an acquaintance’s house in the next target . The general telephoned his acquaintance and informed him he was giving him five minutes to collect his ‘albums’ , because he had decided to blow the house up. When he said ‘albums’ , the murderer meant the albums of family photographs. The general , who who had been destroying the city for months , knew precisely how to annihilate memory. That is why he ‘generously’ bestowed on his acquaintance life with the right to remembrance. Bare life and a few family photographs’
The Museum of Unconditional Surrender (p.g 5)
My double exposures are intended to suggest both the transient life of the snapshot album and how easily these tangible memories of my dad could disappear. I have included a few original photographs that have been scanned and printed as well as newspaper clippings in addition to the 15 images needed for the assignment. I hope my work helps in someway to immortalise him for the future generations of my family when I am no longer here to keep his memory alive.
Some rejected images that for various reasons I am not happy with and some other ideas I have been trying out . I have printed them out as what looks fine on screen does not always seem to work as well in print.
This for example I quite like as a diptych but when printed I actually preferred the double exposure and newspaper clipping to be viewed as two separate pieces.
+ another rejected version here
I cloned out the ring from the right hand version , again I not using either of these.
These were printed as triptych’s but I was not happy with them so have re-printed yet another version that will be included in the final assignment.
I took a series of photographs of dad’s cufflinks and cigarette case , each has been processed slightly differently and I have one selected for the assignment.
Again I did not particularly like the look of this printed as a diptych
These double exposures were too faded and when printed looked even worse.
I was going to use this as a full page image but have now created a triptych including written information about the Chindits
I do have my final selection but am just finishing printing and labelling them so will put my post up when this is complete and ready to post to my tutor. I have decided to work in colour and also have printed the historical photographs on A4 paper but scaled smaller than those taken for the assignment. The assignment has taken me far longer than I anticipated and I need to write my coursework notes up too but want to get this completed first.
I use Perma Jet Fibre Base Royal 325 paper for printing and am mortified to find it has now been discontinued. I have enough for this assignment but am considering printing all my work at A3 size for assessment so will have to try some alternatives . It is still available from a few sites but this might be a good opportunity to experiment with different papers.
Listen to Jim Goldberg talking about Open See and his exhibition at the Photographers Gallery
Visit Goldberg’s website and reflect on how or if it works as a documentary project within the gallery space.
Goldberg’s project is a thought-provoking and revealing insight into the world of illegal immigrants and refugee populations Goldberg encountered.
Hand written text accompanies many of the photographs and the short testimonials written by the subject are especially poignant
” I pray everyday to go back to my normal life”
” Maria always alone hurt heart”
Living on the periphery of society they could remain nameless and forgotten but Goldberg’s collaboration gives them a voice that reaches a wider audience via the gallery arena.
A book of the project contains both colour and b&w images of differing sizes.
Some are printed across both pages whilst others are kept small making it dynamic to view.
I still need to keep taking more photographs but have been experimenting again with double exposures and also processing in colour again . Initially I wanted to work in colour , changed my mind feeling that b&w were the better choice , but now find myself preferring the colour, they are perhaps more contemporary. I have printed a couple and am pleased that the tones are not too bright or highly saturated , aesthetically this would not work .
I re-processed the triple exposure below
I have emailed Keith about the use of historical images for the assignment as stand-alone photographs . He suggests these be used in addition the 15 needed . Not too sure which I will use or how many yet , I shall be scanning some more but below are the scans of a couple of my original photos , a newspaper clipping and a letter sent by my dad whilst in India . I intend to use some individually and a couple will be used to create diptych’s. I will write more about the context of the images when I do my final write up.
I will be printing the photographs , as always , but want to do another book. This needs to be presented differently to the prints . This is something I needed to amend for the PDF element of assignment 3 by placing all the historic images and scans used in a diptych on their own page . I am also wondering whether to print any of the historical stand-alone photographs I include along with the larger prints I will do, perhaps smaller 4×6. The originals will go back to the green case where they have ‘lived’ for quite some time.
A diptych of dad’s Chindits badge with one of the scanned photographs above– taken presumably in a studio ! Dad is the young man sat down in front of the tiger on the bottom right.
I re-photographed the letter in the diptych below but will probably use the scanned version if this makes my final edit.
Another diptych / a double exposure and scanned newspaper.
A single exposure using another photograph with the clipping and postcard.
Some of the double exposures work some don’t but I want to include a few in this assignment . I like their ambiguity , how they allude to hazy half-forgotten memories as the opaque layers of history are slightly revealed. A few more of my experiments below–some more successful than others.
I like the one below , the connotation , which suggests how he has been silenced , by time and death.
A diptych and a single exposure below
Tacita Dean , British b1965
Floh (German for flea)
Dean studied at Falmouth University and after her Artists Residency in Berlin finished in 2001 she continued to live there.
‘Her long-time preoccupation with serendipity , coincidence and unforeseen outcomes as a leitmotif for her artistic method , governed her wanderings through the street markets of Berlin and elsewhere , which produced a harvest of visual materials. These served as the basis of several works consisting of found images’ ( Rainbird ,p.9 )
Floh consists of informal snapshots found in flea markets by Dean that she then organised and curated into a book. It contains a mix of 48 colour and 109 b&w unrelated images .
Additionally limited edition digital prints from the book were available at an exhibition held in 2001at the Frith Street Gallery in London. The prints , like the photographs in the book , are ambiguous and open to interpretation. No text accompanies the unidentified photographs hence the original context remains unknown leaving the viewer free to conceptualise their own narrative.
Photographs are not only physical objects they also prompt speech but Dean states she wanted “to keep the silence of the flea market ; the silence they had when I found them;the silence of the lost object” . It is rather sad to contemplate who were the original owners of the abandoned photographs and why have they been discarded ? Imagine the stories they could they tell , which is precisely what the viewer is left free to do.
This is interesting essay —Mark Godfrey Photography Found and Lost :On Tacita Dean’s Floh HERE
References / Bibliography
Rainbird, S. (2005) Tacita dean: Berlin works: [published to accompany the exhibition Tacita dean: Berlin works, 8 October 2005 – 15 January 2006, Tate, st. Ives]. United Kingdom: Tate Gallery Publish.