Reflection on the Images for Assignment 1 – Body of Work

Nearly all the images I’ve produced for Assignment 1 have been what I would term ‘straight’ photography. I feel that I found melding the theory and practice parts of my 2 modules (Contextual Studies and Body of Work respectively) difficult at first. Although I was producing images for my Body of Work they felt somewhat disconnected from the complicated theory I was discussing for Contextual Studies. However, as the theory progressed and I started looking back at some of the photographs I’d taken initially, I began to see a feature of my work emerging.

The feature was that I was trying to find something extraordinary in the everyday; in my mind the everyday was what I deemed to be Deptford. I found this was extremely hard to find in one photograph although I was lucky on one occasion. I also found that by placing the photos in a particular order they could suggest things to the viewer that wasn’t possible with a single image. This realisation was in part from Howells’ (2011) essay on Photography and Reality in Chapter 2 of Visual Culture. I have therefore placed the photographs in an order which I feel suggest something about how Deptford is changing. In this way I could start to show something more extraordinary within my everyday.

Barthes’ essay Rhetoric of the Image (Barthes, 1999:39) also encouraged me to experiment with Photography and Reality and in particular one quote from the essay: ‘the photograph, although it can choose its subject, its point of view and its angle cannot intervene within the object (except by trick effects).’ – (Barthes, 1964). This was also about the same time I came across Noémie Goudal’s work which seems to play with reality and was another inspiration. Therefore I began to develop in my mind an alternative to ‘straight’ photography where the photograph did indeed ‘intervene within the object’ – (Barthes, 1964), through trick effects. Goudal’s (2014) Studies on Perspective I encouraged me to actually start experimenting with this idea because it showed me something similar was possible. This was another way of showing something extraordinary within my everyday but in a single image.

Going forwards I am aware there is a conflict in styles where the multiple images that make up the bulk of Assignment 1 and are intended to complement each other are inconsistent with the last photograph. One thing I learned in the Documentary module was that consistency within a body of work is important. In my eyes I could continue with straight photography in a photo essay style using a more strategic psychogeographic approach. Or I could continue playing with reality through tessellations; I already have some ideas how I could further incorporate this but will have to experiment to see if they work.

In terms of genre I feel my work (or most of it) would fall loosely under psychogeography where I floated around Deptford looking for things that caught my attention. If I was to focus on this genre I would probably try to make it more strategic so that the work was more random as discussed in the post: Psychogeography. The other type of work I produced (for the last photograph) I would suggest falls under the genre of conceptual photography in so much as it is a preconceived idea that plays with photography and reality. In my opinion it would be much harder to produce a body of work that places emphasis on playing with photography and reality like the last photograph I’ve produced for Assignment 1. However, I feel that this kind of challenge would push me to produce a body of work more satisfying in the end.

References:

Barthes, R. (1999) ‘Rhetoric of the Image’ In: Evans, J. and Hall, S. Visual Culture: A Reader. London: SAGE Publications Ltd, pp.33-40.

Goudal, N. (2014) Studies on Perspective I. At: http://noemiegoudal.com/study-on-perspective/ (Accessed 12/04/2019).

Howells, R. (2011) Visual Culture. Cambridge: Polity Press, pp. 183-205.

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