Reflection on Assignment 2 and Carrying It Forwards

I do feel I improved upon Assignment 1 with my second assignment although perhaps it has taken a step sideways as well. Instead of shooting handheld and sometimes grabbing opportunistic shots, the vast majority of the images I made for Assignment 2 were set up on a tripod and carefully considered. This approach can mean I am less able to capture the moment; maybe the reason I was drawn to the setting at the time. However, I found due to the nature of the project I was more drawn to the scene rather than the serendipitous activities that might be occurring as soon as I arrived.

Furthermore, I have experienced that by setting up the tripod and waiting for something more interesting to pass across the camera’s vision (mainly people passing by), I was able to time the taking of the images much better and they appeared as interesting as capturing the moment. It also allowed me to level the camera as well as I could and take into consideration converging verticals form the camera pointing up or down and in general compose the image much more deliberately. This included juxtaposing the old and new within Deptford in single images much more tellingly.

As well as this I took the slightly controversial decision to take further advantage of the tripod set up to introduce a composite approach to making the images. I would deem this controversial because the images are no longer strictly ‘photographs’ as they combine separate moments into one and so lose the realism rhetoric of traditional documentary photography. The composite approach also importantly starts to invent meaning that wasn’t there as parts of the image are combined to create different juxtapositions within the image. For example in my eyes the spacing between people passing by (who weren’t there at the same time) allows a much more orderly depiction of Deptford. There is also the potential for narrative between the different people in the scene as well as their surroundings. This potential for narrative is one area I feel I could develop going forwards as only some images exhibited this narrative in my opinion.

Other areas my body of work could improve, from my point of view, is the volume of the work produced. When I exhibit the work, I would like there to be more to look at, in terms of quantity not quality in order to keep the viewers’ attention and give a more widespread overall view of Deptford. I feel 11 images is not a great number to keep the viewers occupied. Having said this, it is a challenge to find settings where it is clear there is a juxtaposition between old and new in Deptford, simply because there is little of the old Deptford still around.

Another area I could see improving is the context surrounding the images. I have come to realise that content is only part of how the viewer responds to the project. I have realised this in part from reading Allan Sekula’s On the Invention of Photographic Meaning (1982). In response to this essay I have decided to name the photographs quite objectively while revealing their location. The location is revealed in the form of latitude and longitude in a format that can be entered into Google Maps for example. This can then subsequently be explored in Google Street View where the settings for some of the images can be observed to have changed even since the Google Street View images were taken. I have also named the images in an objective manner to reflect my objective stance on Deptford’s regeneration. However, recently I have begun to question my objective stance, since conducting more thorough research into the regeneration.

References:

Sekula, A. (1982) On the Invention of Photographic Meaning. In: Burgin V. (eds) Thinking Photography. Communications and Culture. Palgrave, London

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