Research Project Proposal – 1

To explore where I wish to take my research project it is worth making a critical consideration of my current practice. Over the past two years I have photographed Tuscany, Andalusia, Valencia and around where I live in Spain. I have enjoyed conceiving, planning, shooting and disseminating my work. My peak pleasure is during the moment of seeing on location and deciding what and when to shoot.

People enjoy my work. Normal non photographers react with words like ‘wow’, ‘amazing’, ‘stunning’ and other positive comments. I really like it if someone says I wasn’t sure at first but as I looked at it I realised I really liked it. Photographers who consider my work say I have an eye for a composition and timing for light.

Now let’s shine the light on ‘what is my photography about?’ To date I would have to say much of the work I have produced can be classified critically as traditional realism and trivial. This image of the Belvedere in Tuscany is an aesthetically pleasing image but it adds nothing to the subject of photography or has any significant meaning in its own right. This subject has been successfully shot by so many people

This image of a sunset near my house throws up different questions. It could be a trivial picture of a sunset. My intent at this moment was to capture a mood and feeling represented by the colour combinations that arose at that moment. I saw clouds and decided I would go out in the evening as something like this might happen. What I see missing from my work is intentionally adding meaning to the aesthetic pleasure I am proposing to date. Meaning arises not just from planning a subject I want to photograph but also asking the question what story I am trying to tell?

My research project is about achieving an authentic photographic style that creates meaning from my work. Repeating what has been done before to a high standard is not enough. I need to find a way of saying something new and in my own way. Now the fun begins. To find different ways I need to explore different approaches. The following image of Benidorm is an example of exploring. I am in the process of capturing Benidorm in this style. It is a different way of telling the story of Benidorm in a vibrant, colourful and energetic way. It intends to challenge the instinctive reaction to the word Benidorm. To be successful with this process I would then need to be able to position this story of Benidorm along with its meaning in an appropriate context.

The following two images of the same place at Falmouth Pier illustrate another process of experimentation. This is a way of juxtaposing realism and abstraction and generating a conversation.

Something is taking shape where I see phase 1 is to experiment with some different forms of representation and as I do so keeping an eye on the story I want to tell or the conversation I want to initiate. This stage will be an enquiry feeding in to future stages where in the Final Major Project I will understand my authentic style and be able to have something to say.

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.