Getting one’s head outside the Black Box

MA in Photography, Falmouth University, Module 3, Surfaces and Strategies, Week 4

In reviewing the presentations from week 4 I have chosen from the wide array of poetical sources a small number which chime or challenge me into think about my practice and its techniques.

Collage work such as Hockney (1986) (ref 1), as a form of ‘post-photography’, is “work that considers the objectness of a photograph” according to Geoffrey Batchen (2000) (ref 2).  This overt and explicit overlaying draws attention to the multiplicity of ‘edges’ whist simultaneously creating a whole, wide view.  This is very much focused on the artist as the maker, whereas there is a strong reminder by Joanna Zylinska (2016) (ref 3) of the process that is largely automated in the making of images “The Human agency required to make a decision about what and how to photograph is only one small part of what goes on in the field of photography, even though it is made to stand in for the whole of photography as such.” 

In his talk Flusser speaks of “photographers dance around an event” thus implying a multiplicity of shots with a roving eye on composition required at every step (ref 4)

Screen Shot 2017-06-24 at 07.46.00

figure 1

Richard Kolker (ref 5) studied a sixteen year old girl in the tradition between teenage hood to womanhood and used software to trace her movement and stance using Microsoft Kinect Sensor, a physical/virtual interface, to plot lines which are then shown on a series of neutral backdrops as constructs.  These images (fig 1) are not abstract, they clearly denote a human form and are a highly worked example of Zylinska’s observation of process.  There was a subject, a process and an image; highly distilled but nevertheless very close to what we may choose to call a photograph.

Practice

I am now asking myself about the limitations of my technique and particularly my equipment which are now reaching a higher consciousness for me.  I realise and acknowledge that I was building into my thinking about image making these boundaries and limitations; lens focal length, camera weight and portability, air freight restrictions, the unknown character of shooting on film (and the reverting to digital with regularity), my own eyesight (I wear veridical glasses), restricted darkroom access and the limits on time, complexity of cameras and recalling controls on each shoot, image loss anxiety, economic cost and software acquisition and ignorance.

So there is much to do, to think, to do and to act on to hone my approach especially in terms of the technical equipment.

References

1 http://www.getty.edu/art/collection/objects/105374/david-hockney-pearblossom-hwy-11-18th-april-1986-2-british-april-11-18-1986/?dz=0.5000,0.3433,0.91 accessed 22nd June 2017

2 Batchen, G. (2000) Post-Photography. In: G. Batchen (2000) Each Wild Idea: Writing, Photography, History, Cambridge, Mass, London: The MIT Press, pp. 108–127

3 Zylinska, J. (2016) The Creative Power of Nonhuman Photography. In: K. Kuc and J. Zylinska, eds. Photomediations: A Reader. London: Open Humanities Press, pp. 201–224

4  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZWcX3XQyukg accessed 23rd June 2017

5 http://www.richardkolker.com/reduced.htm accessed 23rd June 2017

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