2: Informing Contexts

Reflection from this module on Practise.

Reflecting on my photographic journey from last module tot his, I feel very much that my work is being pushed and pulled between conceptual photography looking at memory and imagination, and more commercial work aimed at getting commissions. This constant flux between the two I think has almost stifled the development in both areas. Moving forward I want to try and amalgamate these two outcomes into one style that works for both editorial and in the context of the gallery.

Mainly it is the description of Southam's work by Gerry Badger which you can read about here that has informed my work to date. "Connection, Memory and History are key points for my evolving work from now on.

Memoryscapes, 2018 Anthony Prothero

Memoryscapes, 2018 Anthony Prothero

This images above is one I do really like but was left out of the final edit as the aesthetics of it didn't fit with he other images I had already selected. It maybe that I return here again in the future and this scene would be better matched with less abstract and perhaps some portraits.

However,I feel the work in progress portfolio I have edited and submitted is some of my strongest work to date.I don't feel I have investigated this area of interest as intensely as possible, as I think to submerge myself in the area I want to photograph in the future for longer periods of time would produce stronger work and a wider edit. 

Interms of where I take inspiration from I feel after reading some interviews with Letinsky, who is very articulate about her influences, I think I need to try and read more and to take influence form other photographers less. Reading will inform ideas rather than aesthetics. This currently is stifling my own style progression.

On the topic of memory, Dr Emily Orley talks about how, “James Joyce scribbled the words 'places remember events' in the margin of his notes for Ulysses.”(Orley, 2012:1) I hope to explore in the future the intriguing notion that the places I have photographed could have multiple memories. In some way this would be flipping the investigation around to almost a view of people from the landscapes point of view.

Imagine Finding Me - Chino Otsuka

Interested in the relationship between the past and the present I revisited Otsuka's Imagine Finding Me book project. 

Otsuka’s constructed realities of both past and present self-portraits comment on her cultural identity, as well as offering the viewer to consider their own past and present self. 

These images clearly reference the machine printed snap and the aesthetic of the snapshot.

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Georgoi Morandi - The Essence of the Landscape

I would now like to follow on from reading Shores text on the nature of the photograph, and in particular the frame of the image. I wanted to look at how the similar processes worked in relation to that of the painter. Georgio Morandi also used the ideas of the frame to decide what is to be included or left out of his painting. 

Morandi's Viewfinder  https://bit.ly/2HE4Hdm

Morandi's Viewfinder https://bit.ly/2HE4Hdm

His paintings I find in the similar style to contemporary painter and friend of mine Sam Heath

I found his use of colour and form were not dissimilar with the close up view of my landscapes. These views showing observation of shapes and forms and less of the whole landscape scene.

Why the title?

Untitled from the series Memoryscapes, 2018 Anthony Prothero

Untitled from the series Memoryscapes, 2018 Anthony Prothero

 

I think this series of images in my work in progress portfolio for Informing Contexts module will be titled Memoryscapes. They are a series of landscapes or seascapes that have been realised through the act of memory as a child. I also intent the viewer to recall their own personal memories whilst looking at my work. So I feel that combining the act of remembering within the landscape has created this as a suitable title. 

Some Stories In Search Of An Ending - Gerry Badger

July 1996  from the  Upton Pyne  Series, Jem Southam 1996  https://bit.ly/2HBEigs

July 1996 from the Upton Pyne Series, Jem Southam 1996 https://bit.ly/2HBEigs

Gerry Badger discusses the process of experiencing the landscape scene when he cites Muir:

"We simultaneously encounter two closely related but different landscapes. The one lying beneath our feet and extending beyond the horizon is a real landscape: It is composed of rock soil, vegetation and water, is home to an abundance of creatures, and has objective past and present existences. The other is the perceived landscape, consisting of sensed and remembered accounts and hypotheses about the real landscape. It is, therefore, a selective impression of what the real landscape is like. - (Richard Muir)

Here Muir is talking about the essence of what I am trying to portray through the aesthetic of my landscape images. It isn't what you see before the lens that I am showing, but what is there through these 'remembered accounts' (Muir) that is important.

Badger later talks about a walk along a beach with Southam to outline the lengthy process endured up to a dozen times a day when only a few images are actually exposed. This time is what drew me to Southam's work in the first place. He talks about the connection with the places he makes pictures in. "I need to attach myself to a place and return again and again to make work there". (Southam) The knowledge he then passes onto the audience "whilst in part being about change, photography's perennial subject - are also about continuity, connection, memory, history"

It is this knowledge I assume I am looking for in my images. I am certainly looking for memory as this is where I started this investigation. However it is also about the connection, and the history of a place. And this knowledge can only be really found through the repeated return to the same place to gain as much knowledge as possible to turn a photograph ( which Badger says can be made anywhere using a camera) into a picture which hold all the information and knowledge needed to pass onto the viewer. This idea of the difference between the picture and the photograph is something I started to think about when I watched a video interview with Jeff Wall about his images where pictures become poems. You can find it here.

 

Bibliography

Southam,J and Badger,G 2005 Landscape Stories. Blind Spot Books New York

 

Pictures Trigger Memory

Untitled, 2018 Anthony Prothero

Untitled, 2018 Anthony Prothero

Here Chen makes interesting observations aboutthe process of photographing to remember when she references her research into "whether or not taking photographs enhances our experiences or distracts us from them". This is something I am really interested in currently. The idea that we are actually losing out on remembering things because we are too bust recording them on devices. In other words we are actually reliant on the lens to record for us as we are beginning to not remember. 

 

Hinkel did similar studies around the act of photographing to remember. This involved two separate groups recording what they do and don't remember. Half given cameras to use and half did not have a camera. The ones with the cameras remembered less than the group who photographed the objects. Hinkel's research "highlights key differences between people’s memory and the camera’s “memory”.

I'm getting increasingly interested in the scientific motivation behind this act of photographing to remember. 

Further reading below. 

Bibliography

Chen, J. (2018). How Taking Photos Affects Your Memory of the Moment Later On. [online] The Cut. Available at: https://www.thecut.com/2017/08/how-taking-photos-affects-your-memory.html [Accessed 22 Apr. 2018].

Glaser, D. (2018). Why Pictures Trigger buried memories much faster than words. [online] Theguardian.com. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/dec/18/pictures-trigger-memories-faster-than-words-neuroscientist [Accessed 11 Apr. 2018].

 

A Naturalistic representation (Allen, 1975:144)

From readsingWanted to try a shallower depth of field than most landscape photographers would use to focus the viewers attention on a single area of the image. When the human eye focuses on an object or scene, only that plane of focus is sharp. Things in the foreground and things in infinity are out of focus. I wanted to therefor show things in a "naturalistic representation" (Allen, 1975:144).

Wolfgang Tillmans, astro crusto,a, 2012. ©WOLFGANG TILLMANS

Wolfgang Tillmans, astro crusto,a, 2012. ©WOLFGANG TILLMANS

Whilst visiting the subject of what the eye can see, Wolfgang Tillmans talks about how he has avoided as much as possible the use of digital cameras with extreme clarity, preferring to use a 35mm film camera. “I try to reduce the visibility of the medium,” he says of his photographs. “I want them to look easy, to make the viewer not think about me first.” (Tillmans, 17.02.2017)

From the point of view of my practise, I feel this humanistic representation of the scene would work particularly well with scene fo memory. Rather than a busy picture where there is almost too much to look at I would prefer there to be some soft, empty space for the viewer to have the space and breadth to recall their own memories.

Bibliography

ARTnews, T. (2018). From the Archives: Wolfgang Tillmans's Deceptively Casual Photography -. [online] ARTnews. Available at: http://www.artnews.com/2017/02/17/from-the-archives-wolfgang-tillmanss-deceptively-casual-photography/ [Accessed 28 Apr. 2018].

Allen, J. S. a. N. W., 1975. Photography, Vision and Representation. Critical Inquiry, Autumn, 2(1), p. 143–169.

 

The New Life of Old Photography

“Group I, 2016,” a hand-stitched photograph from Diane Meyer’s series “Time Spent That Might Otherwise Be Forgotten,” in “A Matter of Memory: Photography as Object in the Digital Age” at the George Eastman Museum.Credit© Diane Meyer, Courtesy of the Artist

“Group I, 2016,” a hand-stitched photograph from Diane Meyer’s series “Time Spent That Might Otherwise Be Forgotten,” in “A Matter of Memory: Photography as Object in the Digital Age” at the George Eastman Museum.Credit© Diane Meyer, Courtesy of the Artist

Above: Diane Meyer from California contributes family portraits, which also speak as a personal keepsake, adding an element of tactility by using a cross-stitch to embroider over certain details of the image, such as the faces of her subjects.

I found this text referencing an exhibition which took places in October 2016 about the ways in which artists are responding to the rejection of the physical print and how this effects our vision of the past.

I really like "The vision of the past" as a description of memory. It maybe something I would consider as a title for my work in progress portfolio. 

Its Interesting to see how other practitioners deal with the notion of memory, especially in the age of the digital snapshot.

Curator Lisa Hostetler considers how “We are adjusting to how we remember things, our past and those who came before us,” 

I have spoken before especially in the last module that the tactility of the photograph is very important to me in both the physicality of the image and also in the role these objects take in the memory process. This is one of the fundamental reasons for my specific attention tot he context of consumption in the last module, where I included frames within the image to pay specific attention tot he fact it was a real photograph and not a digital file, even though this was all being explained on a web based journal.

I have also talked about in terms of this module about wanting to get hand C Type prints made for this submission. After a great deal of consideration I have decided due to financial and time limitations that I won't be able to do this. However I have chosen one of my work in progress images which is being hand printed so I can comment, compare and contrast between the scanned negative and the hand print as a relevant comparison.

Bibliography

Nytimes.com. (2018). In Books and Art, the New Life of Old Photography. [online] Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/05/t-magazine/books-old-found-photography.html [Accessed 14 Apr. 2018].

 

Landscape and Memory - Ken Taylor

‘Any landscape is a condition of the spirit’ Henri Frédéric Amiel

Untitled from Memoryscape series 2018 Anthony Prothero

Untitled from Memoryscape series 2018 Anthony Prothero

 

Taylor has some very interesting points that I feel are almost the backbone of my interrogation into the relationship between the camera and our memory. Early on in this investigation I didn't have the critical thinking nor a real reason for what I was doing. Taylors text has given me a stronger idea of the whats and whys of my work. 

This sense place Taylor talks about is the reason for the location of my work. I think its very important to have a personal sense of the space you exist within, and to also know where one has come from and what and where has formed the identity of the person we/I am today. I think this area of the county I am working in at the moment is a very special place to me both aesthetically and to with this identity I have talked about. The landscape series that is developing form this place is a very small part of the investigation I want to develop later in my practise. 

 

Bibliography

Taylor, K., n.d. Landscape and Memory. [Online] 
Available at: http://www.unesco.org/new/fileadmin/MULTIMEDIA/HQ/CI/CI/pdf/mow/mow_3rd_international_conference_ken_taylor_en.pdf