Image – Sequence – Text – Voice – Video

FMP Assignment

The form that your project takes will depend on the nature of your practice and should reflect your creative intent. It should be resolved as appropriate to the work itself and with considered purpose. As the consideration of audiences and markets are key concerns throughout the course, you are strongly encouraged to present it to an appropriate public audience.

Choices

I have a set of building blocks in the form of images, text, voice and video for the creative project for my FMP. I have potential audiences in the Multiple Sclerosis Society and Dignity in Dying. I am working with the audiences to accept my creative project as my work for their audience with the minimum of constraints. The challenge I now have is to decide the appropriate level of guidance/experience to provide the viewer in addition to a sequence of images. These choices include text, voice and video.

The choice revolves around the extent to which I as the artist wish to denote or connote with my work. Do I have a message I want to get across or is my work the message the viewer creates when perceiving my work? The origin of my project is the pain experienced by the partner of someone with a chronic illness and who then dies. Already viewers have been emotionally impacted by viewing my work. This has ranged from really black depression to others who see the importance of valuing life when it is good. My task now is to decide if that is enough or if a deeper experience can be given by adding other syntax.

Barthes (1977 p25) helps when he says ‘text constitutes a parasitic message designed to connote the image, to ‘quicken’ it with one or more second order signifiers.’ The artist in my may wish a viewer to dwell longer to create their own meaning but my audience may require that I quicken the understanding. There is a choice here to educate the viewer. Present my body of work as an artistic creation within a text describing how I put it together and what it is about for me.

Consider these two images paired. With no title and no text it leaves an infinite number of options for the viewer to project on to what each might mean and what the sequence might mean. In many ways this is the most exciting presentation for an artist if it captures the attention of the viewer and creates a dialogue.

If I add a title like ‘every bird I see will be a part of you’ then Barthes is right it does narrow down the meaning and give a clue to what it might be about. If I add narrative to the images it narrows down further unless the narrative is oblique to the images which can make the viewer think more. The experience of the work is changed again if I add sound or video to the sequence.

This throws up a fascinating question for me. I say my work is about ‘what it is like to live with someone with chronic illness who then dies.’ This gave rise to the images I took and selected so far. I now need to decide if it is important that the viewer knows this is why I created the work and what it is about. Clearly the MS Society and Dignity in Dying will want there to be a clear connection to their messages. As a work of art I need to consider how I can meet all these constraints and what I want to happen with the viewer.

References

Barthes, R. 1977. Image, Music, Text Fontana Press. London.

Categories: Contextual Research FMP, Final Major Project, Project Development FMP

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.