I would say that pschogeography is the genre of photography I am naturally most aligned with. I can often be found using my camera as a flâneur wandering around the city and more recently in my local area which encompasses Deptford. I am sometimes aware of where I am headed and sometimes get completely lost, even in my own area, finding new streets and viewpoints within what I thought were familiar places. However, I have found there is a problem inherent with this approach of wandering around seemingly randomly. The problem is that for me at least I end up going along the same routes and streets; sometimes with particular viewpoints in my head. In my opinion this defeats the point of the flâneur as not only does the route become predictable but by looking for particular viewpoints the wandering is no longer random or romantic and becomes purposeful.
One potential solution to this is to admit the predictability of the seeming randomness and ironically do the opposite. Here, the photographer could plan out a route from a map by drawing a shape or in one particular case a face as Pedro Guimarães did with BlueTown (2010). Because the route is drawn out on a map the photographer isn’t sure what they will encounter along the route and in this manner the walk becomes more random. Then there is also potentially a juxtaposition between the shape or face on the map and what is photographed. The photographer could actively look for things that are related to the shape or face as was the case with Pedro Guimarães which might make a connection, if only imagined, between the points on the route and the ‘bigger picture’: the shape or face. I feel this approach works better as opposed to simply ‘wandering around’ because it functions more randomly. As well as this there is the potential for meaning by looking at the bigger picture (the shape on the map) juxtaposed with the photographs themselves.
Pschogeography as a genre fits in well with my practice. I used it to achieve the shots I made in Assignment 3 for the Documentary module. Here, I wandered around Deptford, using focal lengths of varying lengths and taking shots within a theme (gentrification) but of my fancy. This would fit into the concept of the flâneur walking or drifting along (dérive) through an urban environment as described in the first paragraph of this post. I also employed psychogeography in Assignment 5 for the Landscape module where I drew a circle on a map and followed it round in the real life locations. This would fit into the second, more strategic approach as described in the second paragraph of this post.
Although psychogeography fits in well with my practice, I don’t feel like it particularly pushes me and my creativity. Therefore I would think going forwards I could combine psychogeography with another kind of photography like tableaux or fictional autobiography or possibly the archive. This would be in order to push my creativity while still giving me impetus to take pictures through psychogeography.
Guimarães, P. (2010). BlueTown. [Online] Available at: http://pedroguimaraes.net/studio/index.php?/albums/bluetown-1/ [Accessed 1 Apr. 2019].