The Power of Objects

In my FMP I am trying to express the ideas of loss, failure and emotional disequilibrium. One way of doing this is to introduce images of objects that are in some way contingent to the subject matter of my work. An example would be a notebook kept by my wife. She is not present and I am not present but there is something this notebook can say about what was.

Other practitioners have used this technique. Laia Abril used objects in A History of Misogyny – On Abortion , Edgar Martins used pieces of paper in Siloquies And Siloloquies, Life and other Interludes, Keith Arnatt used objects in Garden Objects and The Tears of Things (Objects from a rubbish tip) and Guy Martin in The Parallel State

Laia Abril

Laia Abril (2020)
Laia Abril
Laia Abril (2020)

What can be more innocuous than a coat hanger, a bath tap and a knitting needle? When used in the context of instruments used today to carry out abortions around the world they pack such a powerful punch. Laia’s work is remarkable as she takes the objects being used as a result of so much of the world’s position on abortion in moral and legal processes.

Edgar Martins

Edgar Martins (2018)

I saw this at the Sony Awards exhibition with a good friend at Somerset House in 2018. I had read about the work from a review earlier. I asked my friend what he thought of the images? He replied ‘they do nothing for me. Pieces of paper well photographed but so what. What is it saying?’ I told him they were suicide notes at which he physically recoiled and jumped back a step. He then walked forward and began to inspect the images in detail. Never could there be a better example of how objects can come to life within a particular context.

Keith Arnatt

Jeremy Millar says the works in Pictures from a Rubbish Tip ‘acknowledge a closing-in of attention, a narrowing of focus. The shift in selection not only transforms the object but also the frame in which it is placed (and to borrow a phrase, Arnatt is always more interested in tracing round the frame than in that which it contains). Landscapes become still-lifes, yet still-lifes which are marked through and through by the landscape, like veins in a marble ashtray.’

Guy Martin

Guy Martin in the The Parallel State uses objects to amplify the point he is making. The objects hold the attention of the viewer and get her to ask more questions about the work around the object images.

Guy Martin – The Parallel State (2019)

Guy Martin – The Parallel State (2019)

Insight

Objects can be incredibly powerful when context is added to them. They can lead in to a subject as with Laia Abril or be the subject with Keith Arnatt or emphasising punctuation as with Guy Martin. There are many objects contingent on my subject for my FMP. Look at them again and again to draw out their most powerful meaning.

References

Abril, Laia. 2020. A History of Misogyny – Chatper 1 – Abortion. [online] available at https://www.laiaabril.com/project/on-abortion/ (Accessed: July 27th, 2020).

Arnatt, Keith. 1991. Garden Objects. Keith Arnatt Estate [online] available at http://www.keitharnattestate.com/index.html (accessed: july 20th, 2020)

Arnatt, Keith. 1991. The Tears of things. [online] available at http://www.keitharnattestate.com/index.html (accessed: july 20th, 2020)

Martin, Guy. 2019. The Parallel State. [online] available at https://www.guy-martin.co.uk/parallel-state-overview (accessed: july 20th, 2020).

Millar, Jeremy. 1993. Keith Arnatt. Available in Frieze Magazine [online] available at https://frieze.com/article/keith-arnatt (accessed: july 20th, 2020).

Martins, Edgar. 2018. Siloquies and Soliloquies, On Death, Life and Other Interludes. [online] available at https://www.worldphoto.org/sony-world-photography-awards/winners-galleries/2018/professional/winners/still-life/1st-place (Accessed July 22nd, 2020).

Categories: Contextual Research FMP, Final Major Project

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.