My journey through Year 2:
Performative Portraits I found to be a both interesting and challenging project, as I got further into the project the more barriers and difficulties I had been having with ‘performing’ were overcome and became more understandable. As I said, challenging, but also creative, and helpful in getting to the actual completion of projects.
Instrumental in my approach to this project was the inspiration that the ‘Grandmother’ of Serbian Performance Art, Marina Abromovic provided. The costume I created for this Project is all my own work and ideas, although I must mention the influences of the Bauhaus Movement and Oskar Schlemmer, the ‘Tragic Ballet’.
A workshop in Screen Printing at University proved ideal for developing this Project further, a new perspective presented itself as a result, one that allowed for a more personal twist. With a photograph taken by me, and details of the recycling materials available in the Screen Printing room, I was able to manipulate my experimentations using screen printing so much I ended up with a shortlist of 27 experimental prints from which the final selection for my Power Point presentation were finally made.
This project has proved to a rich fertile area in several ways, it made the learning of new editing programs and techniques, all adding to my own skill set. The themes I had taken on in order to fulfil the task led me through lots of challenges, trial and error etc in learning how to use these new editing processes, along with new programs/technologies (Premier Pro, iMovie and Final Cut Pro).
My research for the project proved to be deeper than I had considered it would be at the outset, but it had its own rewards, analysing various historical, philosophical and sociological points of view on the evolution of certain technologies, the consequences on our behaviour, plus, the many different philosophies on life, and the many mythologies and the interpretations amongst various communities.
My tutor Jasmine Johnson recommended a video about the strategist Claude Levi-Strauss, and a book by Jared Diamond “The World Until Yesterday, What Can We Learn from Traditional Societies” proved invaluable in helping and developing my understanding.
“Triestes Tropiques” also by Claude Levi-Strauss was recommended, but time, or the lack of it, prevented me reading it all the way through.
In the process of making a second video, as a result of the critique I received about the first video, producing this second effort, better I think, due to that critique.
To summarise, the Video Project was one of the most difficult I have undertaken in this Year 2, but must admit, it is the difficulties I came up against that have greatly improve my skills and knowledge of the editing processes, bring my work up to a higher standard than previously, mainly by acquiring more skills to experiment with, and learn more in the process.
Cut Up Project
Firstly, I have to admit, this project has proved a difficult experience for me. At times it seemed the more effort I put into the project the more it went in the wrong direction. Ideas and inspiration were supplied by the works of Melinda Gibson, Julie Cockburn, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Chema Madoz, Joan Fontcuberta, Peter Kennard, Sebastio Salgado etc.
I approached this project by collecting, sorting and organising and lots of re-organising, changing a photograph from what I thought I wanted, only to be dis-satisfied and change it to something else. Using intervention techniques to breath new life, it was like a form of cooperation with old photography, creating something new from something old to create a new sense of meaning or interpretation.
In conclusion I really do believe I needed, and should have been allowed more time for research into this particular project, as with the benefit of hindsight think I could have produced a better, more comprehensive selection if only if I had known straight from the start what I needed by the way of materials for instance. As a result a lot of the materials I used at the outset eventually turned out not to be useful and unrelated to the theme I was travelling towards, thanks to my research and the ideas it provoked within me.
Also the challenge was to make a series of puzzle photos which were to be used in an interactive way.
In a lot of ways its been a good kick up for me, making me change my way of thinking about my work. I believe this experience has made me more critical, less precious about my initial ideas, making me more demanding of my own efforts, which I think is no bad thing, no matter how painful the process has proved.
Year 2 has, without doubt been more difficult, problematic than the year before. But there have been some really positive results, I believe I have learnt more, and experienced more, my mistakes have cost me time but also made me confront them head on and overcome them, knowledge that I can do this is invaluable and will serve me well for the rest of my course. I have found my course work enjoyable, it has given me the impetus, as well as the time and facilities to explore a varied portfolio of ideas and methodology, different themes, production techniques etc. There is also the pleasure of discovering leading figures in the history of photography, new as well as the established names. Exploring their work, which has contributed, by innovation to shape not only the history of photography, but also, both the present and the future;
My second year we have been looking at artists who have used their efforts with the camera as a vehicle with which to document their work. I have become more conscious of the value of good, thorough research, and of feedback throughout the creative process. My own work grows out of my own natural curiosity about human nature, my own personal endeavours to find and understand not just my own identity, but its place in the world I inhabit. My goal is to highlight and show peoples genuine selves, as well as the identities they build for themselves, with all the ensuing emotions and what drives them and their behaviour. I have attempted to do this using portraiture, travel and street imagery using still and video photography.
I have now to prove myself that I’m capable of continuing in this manner so I can achieve and maintain a high standard of work as a result, and so as to help me achieve my goals and ambitions. It is my belief that there is so very much to be learnt from others, I do not fear hard work, I find the creative environment, being in the company of like-minded people stimulating and adds a powerful incentive to push myself further out of my own comfort zone. I really want to increase my technical knowledge, also learning of the practices of those who have done before.
So far I am feeling a lot more confidence with how I organise my efforts and the work they produce, I know now how important the organisation aspect is to achieve quality results in my work. That I have already learnt I do honestly believe I have the commitment, the enthusiasm and desire that will help me be successful in studying at this level.
Undoubtedly there is much more to learn and the problems that will go with it, but I am looking forward to the feedback.