Week 3 – Strategies of Sharing – Reflection

The work this week has dramatically changed the way I look at my own practice of photography. Collaborative work in P&P opened my eyes but now I see so much more. What I previously thought was an act by me alone I can now see as a collaborative and participative act both as the producer, with others, of work and where and how it goes out to the viewer out there.

To capture this insight I am going to take the dominant ideologies of photographic authorship as stated in Photography and Collaboration (Palmer. 20) and apply them to an image I have produced. I say ‘I’ but we will see I now have a different perspective on what that means. The ‘seven dominant ideologies of photographic authorship: nature, law, subjectivity, worker, medium, cultural codes and software.’

This image was a collaborative act in that Amanda put the sunglasses on me, told me to stand against this wall, took my camera and she took the shot. After this week I see so much more. The camera manufacturer plays a role in this image. In this case Canon has provided one eyepiece, one lens and a sensor to capture the image. Without these there would be no image. The medium makes a significant contribution to the resulting image.

Amanda is a Leica owner with a fixed lens. Although the lens on my camera was 24-105mm Amanda did not use the zoom but instead walked forwards or backwards to change what was in the frame. This in itself shows how different manufacturers can influence how we take an image. This image has legal status as it is copyright protected for me to own it. Over the years this has involved much case law to determine who owns what. Lawyers and Government officials have therefore contributed to this image and what can be done with it.

Nature clearly plays a role. The image is lit by a combination of natural light coming in to the shop but also by electric lighting provided by the shop. In turn this has been produced by others in power stations and distributed to the shop to make it possible to make this image.

Movie producers acknowledge costume designers and wardrobe providers. In this image I borrowed the sunglasses for the shot and must pay credit to the contribution of the clothes manufacturers and the Omega watchmaking company.

Culturally it was acceptable in this shop for me to freely use their sunglasses and wall to make this shot. In other cultures this may not have been possible.

Software is a massive player in this image. There is first of all the software in the camera manipulating pixels through algorithms written by Canon and their collaborators. Translating this ‘original’ image in to a ‘final’ form happens via Photoshop and Lightroom. I understand there is no real original now and that there will never be a final form.

Other ideas that have landed this week are learning with others, helping others and crowdsourcing. It is a lot to take in in a week and the zine production process as an activity is proving fascinating. As I assimilate this in to my practice it raises questions as to what I can do to bring others in to my work to make it more meaningful now that I realise any piece of photographic work is the result of an immense amount of collaboration. This fits with the idea that there is no such thing as ‘I’ and I understand now there is nothing I can do alone in photography.

References

Palmer, D. Photography and Collaboration. 2017. Bloomsbury. p22.

Bibliography

TOOLS FOR SHARING: WENDY EWALD IN CONVERSATION WITH ANTHONY LUVERA. Photoworks Annual; 2013, Issue 20, p48-59, 

Bishop, C. Artificial hells: participatory art and the politics of spectatorship. 2012. Verso. London.

Azoulay, A. Photography Consists of Collaboration: Susan Meiselas, Wendy Ewald, and Ariella Azoulay in Camera Obscura. 2016. Vol 31p 187-201.

Categories: Coursework, Surfaces and Strategies

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.