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 (1964) 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. (1964). Rhetoric of the Image. Evans, J. and Hall, S. (1999). Visual Culture: A Reader. London: SAGE Publications Ltd, pp. 39.

Goudal, N. (2014). Studies on Perspective I. [Online] Available at: http://noemiegoudal.com/study-on-perspective/ [Accessed 12 Apr. 2019].

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

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