Practitioner – Andy Sewell (2)

Throughout the MA I have continually asked what my work is about. The answer keeps evolving over time. It was about my wife’s illness, then it was about my emotions during this time and then artistically expressing existence and experience of things contingent to me. In this moment it becomes about experience and the evolution of memory. What was live when I lived it is now packaged up in some form of memory. I kept seeking the right answer.

Yesterday I listened to Ben Smith’s Small Voice (Smith) podcast interview with Andy Sewell. Everything dropped in to place. Andy talked about his latest project Known and Strange Things Pass. As he described the process by which his ideas evolve it sounded exactly like the process I am going through with my project. Sewell looks and looks again at everything around him. His projects The Heath and Something Like a Nest are deep reflections on what can be seen in what might at first seem uninteresting places. He has to trust that at some point as he progresses his ideas he will be satisfied with what he has and can create a work to be shared.

Sewell also makes the point that there is no correct way for a viewer to experience and understand work he puts out. He feels his work is ready and in a form that he thinks captures the subject he is working on and will stimulate viewers in many ways. The intent of my work is to give an audience an experience in which their emotions are heightened. If this resolves something for them or moves them forward then my work has achieved its aim.

In Known and Strange Things Pass (Sewell) is again looking closely at something that is every day and familiar and shows that it is not. The internet and everything we accept at the centre of our lives is held together by very thin fibre connecting continents under the sea.

Eugine Shinkle describes the work thus ‘It’s about the immediacy of touch and the commonplace miracle of action at a distance; the porosity of the boundaries that hold things apart, and the fragility of the bonds that lock them together. It’s about a reality in which everyday existence is shored up by an immense, labyrinthine instrument devised by us, but grown into something that we no longer fully understand.’ (Shinkle)

Throughout life everyone experiences a full range of emotions. We like the happy ones partly as a contrast to the difficult ones. What we all want to know is that we will survive bad times and have happy times again. For some this does not happen and that is a fear for all of us. My work is developing in this space and I did not believe I would again get to the state of happiness I am currently in. My project is relating an experience that almost killed me and is now evolving in the form of a memory. A year ago I could not believe I would feel as positive as I do now and now I cannot feel what it was like a year ago. I quote Shinkle again as he expresses this so well ‘It’s about a reality in which everyday existence is shored up by an immense, labyrinthine instrument devised by us, but grown into something that we no longer fully understand.’ (Shinkle)

I struggled to create the time to write this as my to do list is pressing against me in the limited time left. I just had to put it down as it really Andy’s words really hit a sweet spot for me.

References

SMITH, B. 2020. 139 Andy Sewell. [online]. Available at https://bensmithphoto.com/asmallvoice (Accessed Oct 18th, 2020)

SEWELL, A. 2020. Known and Strange Things Pass. [online]. Available at http://www.andysewell.com/known-and-strange-things-pass (Accessed Oct 19th, 2020)

SHINKLE, E. 2020. Andy Sewell Known and Strange Things Pass [online] Essay by Eugénie Shinkle Available at https://www.1000wordsmag.com/andy-sewell/ (Accessed Oct 19th 2020)

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.