Week 11 | Critical Ideas

Below is a list of critical ideas with the potential to inform my work going forward.

Read and Simmons (2017)  Photographers and Research, The Role of Research in Contemporary Photographic Practice. Taylor and Francis, New York.

P218

Read (2017) cites Norfolk ‘when i’m researching i’m still looking back fourteen years and thinking about the line that runs through and joins my work up? 

Citing Okeeffe ‘looking back she had the same concerns in her nineties as she did when she was eighteen and just starting out? 

Read (2017) As a curator I am looking for what is at the core of the work. Powered by authentic concerns of the photographer.

The presence of the authentic voice is what lifts the work above the everyday.

P222 

emphasises ‘feedback from others may necessitate feeling one’s way through the process of making work. 

Citing Dyer ‘You don’t have to know what type of book you are writing till you have written a good deal of it, maybe not until you have finished it.

Books generate a form and style uniquely appropriate to its own needs.

The work may start from a few words, a feeling or question and be a process of discovery, a working towards something which feels right, true or authentic.

Citing Deborah Bright 

The continued process of making work strengthens the artist’s ability to find their way

Intuition is not random but channelled by my individual sensibility, a way of thinking and seeing that has evolved over many years working behind the camera and making and looking at photographs.

Citing Edmund Clarke when making a photograph

‘The decision to is related to all the research i’ve done before. Because you are having to work quickly you are so completely focussed on what you are doing that you trust yourself to make the aesthetic judgement but also to make decisions based on what your brain is telling you is interesting.’

Read (2017) ‘Looking back at the concerns that form the backbone of the work and the interests which fuel it, with or without input from others, will serve to provide evidence of where they have been and point the direction for the future. 

Laurent (2017) Why We Do It: Photographers and Photo Editors on the Passion That Drives Their Work [Online] Available at: https://time.com/4839246/photographers-passion/ 

They are the ones who sort all the chaos of the world into images that bring clarity to the free-for-all of life. They are the witnesses and artists who can distill the mayhem and beauty that surrounds us.

When they direct our eyes and hearts with precision and honesty, we know what we know differently and better. Photographers teach us to look again, look harder. Look through their eyes.

I shoot because I see. I shoot because if I don’t, I don’t know who will. Activism is seen as a dirty word. I shoot because I find peace in being especially active, and being a vigorous advocate for a cause.

How does one define what a “cause” is? According to Webster, it is “a person or thing that acts, happens, or exists in such a way that some specific thing happens as a result; the producer of an effect.”

I wish that every image I photograph reexamines and redefines the image of the black man, the black woman, and the black child. My photography is first and foremost a catalyst or reason to motive human action. Every picture I take asks the questions, “Who am I and what is my role here on this earth?” It is my way of seeing. It is my way of saying this is another way of seeing me.

Photography can defeat time. Images can keep the memory of a loved one alive, hold a moment in history for future generations, be a witness to tragedy or joy.

Now that the image has become devalued as a truth-revealing mechanism, it is free to own its subjectivity and becomes an ideal medium to navigate ideas around humanity, connection, identity, memory, presence, experience and intimacy.

Scott, G (2015) Professional Photography, The New Global Landscape Explained. London, Focal Press.

The Power of a Personal Project 

Scott, G (2015, P83) Our personal visual language is determined by our ability to create from the heart

Scott, G (2015, P83) Allowing them not to be controlled by the head but informed by it. 

Scott, G (2015, P83) Personal work is an essential factor in the DNA of the 21st century photographer 

Scott, G (2015, P83) In an environment in which the ability to capture quality images is available to all, the only difference between one photographer and another is the individual life experiences that shape the photographers unique perspective.

On the photographic Project 

Scott, G (2015, P86) The personal project can be whatever you want it to be. The options are endless but whatever you decide to create, it has to be personal to you by definition.

On the Emotional Project 

Scott, G (2015, P86) The emotional genre of personal projects includes all of the the stories that are close to your life experiences.

Often small scale but rich in detail, explore a subject in depth with sensitivity and understanding. 

Scott, G (2015, P90) Emotional attachment can be a catalyst for a project but very often that initial emotion intensifies as the project develops and grows.

Scott, G (2015, P94) The emotional project is often multilayered and although it may begin on a micro personal level it can both grow and embrace a multitude of elements, people and environments. 

Scott, G (2015, P95) Its concurrent spine is the desire to create a body of work based on a deep seated belief or personal experience.

Scott, G (2015, P95) Personal work takes drive and self motivation, both of which are quickly diminished by a lack of progress.

On Projects 

Scott, G (2015, P103) They don’t have to be unique stories, but like all stories they need to be told well.

Scott, G (2015, P103) The personal project will become the spine of your photographic practice.

Scott, G (2015, P106) Publishing your own work has been titled ‘vanity publishing’ viewed as an option that has been adopted by those whose work has been rejected by the traditional publishers, and is deemed to be inferior quality.

Helguera (2011) Education for Socially Engaged Art: A Materials and Techniques Handbook. New York, Jorge Pinto Books.

 ‘to participate is not to create homogeneity; to participate is to generate vitality’.

Pattison, J (2015) Exploring masculinity and mental health through the image. British Journal of Photography [Online] Available at: https://www.bjp-online.com/2015/11/alpha-jennifer-pattison/?fbclid=IwAR19oiLn4ehGZZ4h1yBzIFhgju33mfOdcn2Y0bwYeLQtftWTDWzvntSgx5s (Accessed 2nd Nov 2020)

This argument may be furthered by Pattison (2015) who states…

‘I had to be extremely sensitive in my approach. I agreed with my father before we started the project that he would have power of veto over how his story was written. It proved to be helpful to have clear boundaries and I believe this protected our relationship.’ 

Rosen (2020) Alex Majoli on Artists and the Rewards of Environmental Portraiture. Magnum Photos [Online] Available at: https://www.magnumphotos.com/arts-culture/art/alex-majoli-artists-environmental-portraiture/  Accessed: 17th Nov 2020

https://www.magnumphotos.com/arts-culture/art/alex-majoli-artists-environmental-portraiture/ 

I learned that the place where one should take a picture of an artist is in their studio.”

Majoli’s sensitivity to the complex interplay between his subjects’ inner worlds and outer lives has made him a gifted portraitist of leading contemporary artists.

Majoli’s environmental portraits reveal the collaborative nature of his approach and the importance of developing a space for mutual engagement between artist and sitter in the creative process. 

Majoli possesses the ability to distill the essence of each artist to reveal the space where mind, spirit, and body become one.

“The artists saw my photography, and some of my conceptual work. They were excited because maybe they didn’t know what I would come up with. Sometimes they would be skeptical, but they were also intrigued and interested in being more experimental.”

For Majoli, dialogue is a critical part of the portrait process, be it through a conversation or shared activities. “Even when I have my camera in front of a person, the person can collaborate with me by suggesting a set-up they would like to try,” he says. “We go from there to another place — that is the best part: just to be free to express ourselves. It has to be a picture of two people, not only one. Then the cross-over of two personalities materializes in the work.”

The results are a series of portraits that stand at the intersection of two creative minds, allowing each portrait to stand apart from one another by offering a unique, often-unexpected insight into the spirit of the subject.

“Shirin Neshat is so beautiful, fragile, and silent. She was dressed in black with painted eyes that reminded me of a cat,” Majoli recalls. “Her home was a minimal place in Soho [in New York] with beautiful light. I tried to [create some] symbiosis and translate what I saw. I entered her place: it was white, she was dressed in black, and the work is black and white. It came naturally to do what I did there.”

“You can fall in love with any man or woman, any artist you photograph, because they are so brilliant of mind.”

As an artist… you wake up in the morning and do what you feel. They keep the flame of creativity focused on the art, rather than how much money they could make with it. I feel like even if they got $1 a day, they would have the same passion and dedication. I am sure — I saw that.”

Colberg, J (2017) Understanding Photo Books, tHE form and Content of the Photographic Book. London, Routledge.

Helguera (2011) Education for Socially Engaged Art: A Materials and Techniques Handbook. New York, Jorge Pinto Books.

Scott, G (2015) Professional Photography, The New Global Landscape Explained. London, Focal Press.Sontag. (1973) On Photography. New York, Dell Publishing.

Sontag. S (1973) On Photography. New York, Dell Publishing.

Websites

Laurent (2017) Why We Do It: Photographers and Photo Editors on the Passion That Drives Their Work [Online] Available at: https://time.com/4839246/photographers-passion/ 

Rosen (2020) Alex Majoli on Artists and the Rewards of Environmental Portraiture. Magnum Photos [Online] Available at: https://www.magnumphotos.com/arts-culture/art/alex-majoli-artists-environmental-portraiture/  Accessed: 17th Nov 2020

Published by

drewfindlay82

Photographer based in Stockport, England. This website is for the purpose of my personal work, currently studying MA Photography at Falmouth University.

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