This week I have learnt how controlled and programmed my practice has been to date. It has been revealing to break out of my normal methods and apparatus and consider the range of possibilities not considered so far. I can illustrate this by looking at work I produced before the MA began.
I reentered photography after a twenty year absence in 2016. I read The Art of Photography by Bruce Barnbaum to remind myself of all the rules to obey. I took a Diploma with the Photography Institute to catch up with all the new developments of digital photography. I read up on the right kit to buy. As an owner of some Canon lenses and happy with them in the past I purchased an 80D. I joined the Royal Photographic society and got involved in their documentary and landscape discussion groups.
I felt pressure to get better kit and yielded purchasing a 6D and then an R. I went on trips with Light and Land to Andalucia and with Tim Mannakee to Tuscanny and Venice.
I read my new hero Fusser and his basic concepts of ‘image – apparatus – program – information’ in which ‘image contains within it magic; apparatus contains within it automation and play; program contains within it chance and necessity; information contains within it the symbolic and the probable’ (1983:76). Looking at my work to date as a photographer I can be described as a well trained Golden Retriever (my favourite dog) who can now sit, walk to heal, sit at kerbs, not beg at the table and not jump up on people when they arrive. I am a lovely Golden Retriever.
This week has made me consider what it might be like to run off my leash and become a wolf in the wild. Fusser helps again as he describes what the wolf in me might wish to achieve ‘consciously attempting to create unpredictable information, ie to release themselves from the camera, and to place something within the image that is not in the program. They know they are playing against the camera.‘ (1983:81).
This resonates for my project ‘The Truth & Beauty of Me.’ In particular how can I get in to my images within the surface presentation some indication of what is going on behind the external image. For my face how do I show my state of mind, emotions and thoughts? I don’t yet know but this is a search to continue armed with Fusser and playing this week.
In our work this week we tried out different ways of creating work. Hilde, Chris, myself, Nick, Nathan, Michael, James, Andrew and then back to Hilde created a photochain. Hilde started the process and each recipient then had to produce an image inspired by the image received. From it we created a zine. It was great fun working together collaboratively and with all of us curious and a little excited to see the end result.
For the 24 hour task to produce images not using our normal processes or apparatus I asked a friend who is painting a portrait of me from a photograph of me to give me five images related to what she was doing on the Wednesday.
Once again it was fascinating to have no control and exciting to see what came out. Another sculpture friend has this week agreed to produce a sculpture of my head. It will be interesting to go through the process of sitting for this and seeing what comes out.
I was really interested in Hilde output this week as she took a digital image and then converted it to a sound image to see what she got. This really plays to Fusser’s idea of apparatus and programme giving us the information and in this case Hilde playing it out in a different form. Makes me wonder how you could convert digital information gathered as an output you could smell!
Flusser, V. Towards a philosophy of photography. 1983. Reaction Books ltd.