Week 8 | Reflection

As I have continued to make work and further my project, opening up new avenues and intentions. The idea of producing a photobook at this time feels almost impossible. Technically I have the skills to produce a photobook, and I could produce a product in the style of a catalogue of images however I don’t really believe that this would represent the evolution of my work accurately.

At present, my project has evolved from a form of activism to a socially engaged project to a narrative based idea which faces outwardly and a highly personal narrative exploring the grief of losing my father, using the experiences we had to produce a series of metaphorical images. The main problem in adapting to this level of change for me has been creative thinking and research in addition to the process of confronting some raw emotions that I haven’t dealt with in the last 5 years. 

Dealing with powerful emotions, although difficult, I feel necessary to challenge, not just for the purpose of the MA but for my personal wellbeing. Engaging with this process is slowly beginning to deconstruct the feeling of numbness that I think I have experienced for the last 5 years. Sometimes taking joy from the memories, occasionally becoming overwhelmed with sadness at the realisation that my Dad is gone forever. The whole experience is very strange and I can’t help but think that I should have experienced these emotions years ago. It makes me feel a bit thick or stupid that mentally I was unable to process my thoughts and feelings earlier. 

The negative feelings that I am experiencing translate into the current module as I feel like I am getting behind with the set tasks, to suggest that opening up to my own emotions as being a reason for getting behind with my work, isn’t really a appropriate.

On several occasions I have sat down with the intention of producing a product but was unable because I simply hadn’t finished gathering my thoughts. Let alone produce a powerful narrative which this project deserves.

In the previous module I begun to explore the idea of photography as poetry in addition to looking at the work of Alec Soth, specifically his book Niagara. As a result, the impact of the power of a photographic narrative has hugely affected me and I would describe myself as currently in a hyper sensitive state. The process of transferring such emotions and attempting to translate that into a narrative is proving to be a time consuming business. I feel like I could produce 15 images of empty space in order to represent the difficulty in computing so many emotions that they render a state of uselessness.  

Going forward, I am going to continue work as hard as I possibly can in order to get to the end goal of producing a photobook. But at this time I need to reevaluate my intentions and focus on taking baby steps with my progression.

In the coming days I will assess the work I already have and attempt to forge into a narrative. That will help in the identification of what is missing from my work which will enable the creation of yet another roadmap to expressing my thoughts and feelings towards the tasks in hand. 

In my reflection last week I identified some key areas that I would like to photograph such as a cafe and the M60 motorway in some capacity. In response to this I have begun to research the work of Paul Graham and his project ‘The A1’ having attended a webinar with Colin McPherson where he selected his favourite and most meaningful photographs. The webinar was useful in unlocking my own emotions as McPherson spoke candidly about his childhood growing up in Scotland. This helped me to tap into my own childhood memories and revisit my own vernacular memories of travelling to football matches and eating getting something to eat after my Dad had picked me up from school.

Leading on to this weeks webinar, the feedback that I received was positive with Cemre emphasising that she is pleased with the progress being made and my ability to follow instructions and advice is good. However Cemre did advise that I would benefit from ‘getting closer to my project’ which at the time I took as a metaphor for exploring my own emotion towards the project.

In response to this I decided to let go of my own emotions and explain the process I have been going through with regards to my reflective/delayed grief about the passing of my Dad. I did feel little uncomfortable in doing this in the presence of my tutor and my fellow students however the experience was an empowering one that was met with empathy and support by all which I was really thankful for.

As a result, I have the ideas of where I need to go and what I need to do. With shoots such as these, I am going to be stepping out of my comfort zone and dealing with the vernacular but with a solid intention to create metaphor. My project is revealing itself with the power and emotion which certainly resonates in a personal sense. I am also led back to my previous research of Alec Soth and feel that I need to look deeper at work and intention of this nature. Looking at the photo-books that I currently own, they are all in the form of catalogues. Used to build my knowledge and understanding of photographers. As a result I am unfamiliar with photographic narrative work and feel that I really need to build on this area if I am to produce a sequence of images which encompass meaning and the emotion that I am currently experiencing.

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