What is my research question? – 2

Like this image something is appearing out of the dark. All of us want to take a photograph that gets ourselves to go ‘wow, yes that is what I wanted to capture’ and also to have an audience moved in the same way. We know that photographs can impact our emotions. We also know that words around a photograph can influence what a person sees and how it impacts them.

A research question along the lines of ‘what is the relationship between the photograph, its narrative and the emotions triggered in the taker and the viewer?’ I am going to have to smarten this up in some way to make it a powerful piece of work. A photograph on its own does something to all of us. Not necessarily the same thing to each of us. Some impact our basic emotions and others are driven by our own experience of life. All of us are influenced by any words that go with an image. I will demonstrate this shortly.

I am interested in somehow bringing in Robert Plutchicks’ Wheel of Emotions around his polar opposites of joy/sadness, anger/fear, trust/distrust and surprise/anticipation. I also want to bring in narrative. There is the narrative of the actual scene, the narrative of the photograph and the narrative of the viewer and taker.

To illustrate what is going on my first question is what are your thoughts about the image here? I went with my best mate Rob to the Sony Awards exhibition in Somerset House last year. We talked about images. What interested us and what did or did not work for us. For this series of images I had read a review which did impact the way I oriented myself towards them.

Rob…what do you think about this image? Perfectly good image, anybody could take it, it is a piece of paper with some lighting on it that is dramatic but I lose interest quickly. What is the piece of paper I ask? Who cares he says. They are photographs of suicide notes, I say. It was as if he thought I was going to hit him as he physically recoiled and his face shaped in to shock. This relationship between photograph, narrative and emotion is what interests me to explore further.

The title of the Edgar Martins shot provokes thought more as it is classified as a ‘Still Life’.

Categories: Positions and Practice

LEN

I am a Photographer. As well as taking many photographs I am currently studying for an MA in Photography at Falmouth University. I will direct my attention through the lens of my camera for the next couple of years and see what shows up. I see a photograph as a little bit of magic capturing a moment in time. If successful it surprises and engages your emotions. It tells a story about the wonders of being alive or tells us what we need to change to make it a better world to live in. That is enough for me to get going and then like walking a 1000 miles, which I did across the UK in 2010, or walking 200 miles across Cyprus, which I did in November last year, it is one step at a time.

I was a writer. The title of my unpublished book was ‘You Would Have Done The Same.' It is about a successful guy in love with his wife who lets her die when he discovers her in the process of committing suicide. The title gives a clue as to what I think you would have done. The book is 200 pages long. I found it cathartic to write it but after two years of work and reviewing with agents decided it probably needed another 2000 hours to get the whole book up to the standard of some of the pages. Writing is great but it is a lot of sitting down so I decided to get out and walk, play tennis, play bridge, go birding, watch football at Nottingham Forest, Arsenal and Valencia and anywhere else if I can, meditate, cook and eat. I was a writer who has so far failed to become an author.
I was a young man who loved Mathematics and thoroughly enjoyed getting a BSc at Liverpool University. While there I went often to Anfield and the Philharmonic Hall. I was all set on doing a PhD until I went for interview practice at BP and got seduced by the excitement of an International business career. BP was a great adventure building trading teams and businesses in London, Antwerp, Cleveland Ohio and Singapore. Fabulous people and some great challenges and also very hard work, constant jet lag and lots of fun along the way. I married Karen, my stunning wife, and had the most amazing time with her and our three boys Alex, Tom and Dan. She has multiple sclerosis and we have taken on many challenges together but somehow keep creating a new normal against the horrors thrown our way. She is the love of my life.

After BP I decided to coach senior executives and quickly realized I had a lot to learn
about what makes people tick. I had a fantastic 18 months on the International Programme of the Cleveland Gestalt Institute. A great faculty and a
wonderful group of people on the programme. We studied and worked in Dingle, Singapore, Holland, Cape Town and
Lisbon. This also got me interested in the way we think and make decisions so I studied for an MSc in Psychology atUniversity College London in 2010. The
Masters was in Cognitive and Decision Sciences and I found it fascinating what
we do know but also how much we don’t know about how we think and make
decisions.

I loved coaching and making a difference. I got a number of people to hear themselves, remove some of their own chains and free up the way they thought about the world. I remain fascinated by how people react to and engage with the world. My Masters thesis was why do two people given the same information make different decisions? Put simply, it is because each of us are unique in the way we are constructed.

Since returning from Singapore I found English winters tough so moved to Spain where I now live. The people are lovely, the scenery amazing, food delicious and the sun shines all the time. Almost.

All of these experiences will feed in to my time now as a Photographer. Three motivations I am lucky to have are enthusiasm, curiosity and a continuous interest in learning. All the time I look forward to meeting old friends and making new friends and experiencing this wonderful life together.