Category Archives: Progress Reports

Summary – weeks ending 29/12/17

02/01/18

Again a combination summary. Life rather got in the way!

Photography:

  • some images in the garden taken under heavy frost
  • images for assignment 5 of the local woodlands, unfortunately the particular image I wanted was not available – someone had removed the large pile of logs
  • Edinburgh at Christmas – not very successful pictures of the fun fair – too much distraction
  • Edinburgh Botanics light show

Reading:

  • still Barrett on criticism
  • Robert Adams – Beauty in Photography – interesting alternative take to Barrett on criticism especially in essay ‘Civilising Criticism’
  • Photoworks 23 – I particularly like the Folio on Katja Stuke and Oliver Sieber with the contrasting works ‘ on the street’, with the contrast of the shaven headed ‘Cry Minami’ images posted in cities across the world versus the Sieber images of people shown from the back.

Exhibitions seen:

  • Futureproof 2017 – at Street Level Glasgow, a compilation of works from last years degree shows in Scotland
  • Robin Gillanders retrospective – Still in Edinburgh – I liked the images from ‘A Lover’s Complaint’ which shows images based on haiku by Henry Gough-Cooper which are based on the ‘Fragments’ written about love and philosophy by Barthes.

Thinking:

  • http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/resources/idts/david_hurn_photographer_swaps_magnum –   came across this article online about the Hurn exhibition in Cardiff  – he says ‘The point of the selfie is immediate and only of interest for seconds so most of the interest seems to me as someone who doesn’t do it, to be the fun act of doing it, usually with friends.’
  • spent a lot of time considering which images to put in assignment 5 – and, more crucially, which to leave out!

Planning:

  • I have realised that over the last year while taking a vast collection of images – very few of these actually talk about what I am doing in my life. So, I splashed out on an Instax camera with my Christmas money and am planning to take an image every week that says something about what I (and the family) have been doing. I will then make this into an album.

Summary – weeks ending 24/11/17

This is a combined summary of the last few weeks!

Photography:

  • Magnum gig at Workington
    • happy with these as I got a good position and the light was reasonable
  • Bad Touch gig in Newcastle
    • less happy here as the room was very dark and even on ISO 64000 there ended up with a lot of noise – needed a lot of post-processing to give OK images
  • Images on the beach at Torryburn for the coal coast homage
  • Some images in Newcastle and Workington of general area
  • Started photoing objects for long-term project on autism
    • small things that change your life

Reading:

  • continuing with Barrett’s book on criticism – finding this very useful as it is making me think about what I am looking at in alternative ways.
  • BJP – December issue – concentrated on Eastern Bloc then and now
    • Boris Mikhailov – (Russian  photographer – now living in Berlin) – work shown in some detail – very challenging to the eye, certainly not conventionally pretty in any way. Worth exploring further.
  • Selfie by Will Storr – about the formation of the self in the modern world

Exhibitions seen:

  • Don McCullin – Artists Rooms at Dumfries
  • New Contemporaries  at the Baltic
  • Starless Night at the Baltic
  • Gordon Parks at the Side
  • Syd Shelton at the Side

Thinking:

  • how to present A5 – without it being pretty
  • how do you represent a feeling /sensation in an image?

 

Summary week ending 27/10/17

29/10/17

Photography:

  • Gigs images at Moody and Maas – moderately successful given that the light was very dim and all had to be handheld

Reading:

  • Stephen Shore – The Nature of photography – found his way of splitting up looking at images into the physical level, the depictive level and the mental level a helpful way of conceptualizing what I am thinking about with an image
  • Photoworks 22 – Women – some of this I find too theoretical, too far away from my practice –
    • but really enjoyed Francesca Catastini – The Modern Spirit is Vivisective,
    • also the work by Diana Matar – Evidence – talking about the importance of absence.

Thinking:

  • Still about how to show sensory differences in visual terms.

Weeks (3) ending 20/10/17

20/10/17

Not a very productive 3 weeks!

Photography;

  • more images of the cottage by artificial light
  • lots of attempts at studio work for exercise 4.4 – with variable success

Reading:

  • Stephen Shore – The Nature of Photographs, interesting and easy to follow
  • Leibesleid – Rut Blees Luxemberg – fascinating images especially when read alongside the prose poem accompaniment.
  • The photographic Image in Digital Culture – Martin Lister – complex arguments about what is an image when it is made up of pixels and electrons in the ether.  Does how the image is made matter? Is it the vision or the actual print that is important – how does it effect indexicality.

Thinking:

  • How do I portray autism in images –
    • can I use items from the ADOS (diagnostic) kit – looking at imaginative versus concrete thinking
    • how do you show  altered sensation?- overlay sensory organ with something else – or is that too obvious
  • About light and its role in photography – Todd v Luxemberg v Shintaro
  • From Notes – quote by Robert Frank ‘Tell them to make work that is close to their heart. It seems to me that no-one can expect more than this’ (Notes, Autumn-Winter 2016, p 18).

Attended the Study Day in Glasgow – needs a write up.

Summary week ending 29/09/17

Photography

  • sheep being loaded into a truck
  • indoor and outside images, night and day of cottage – thinking about light
  • boys and their toys ( guns and tanks)

Thinking

  • mainly about effects of light and night versus day. 
  • planning for assignment 4 – inside/outside views of cottage though the windows
  • ways of looking – someone commented on OCA website that it was just as much plagiarism o copy other peoples views as to use their words without proper citations 

Reading

  • SSHoP – interesting article about self portraiture, also about Carla van de Putelaar
  • Roger Fenton -related to Crimea war images
  • Hill and Adamson  – Edinburgh exhibition 

Visited the St Andrews Photography Festival – several interesting things there, especially the external images – most people completely ignoring them, leaning on them  – needs a detailed write up.

 

A Way of Looking

30/0 9/17

Recently I have been thinking a great deal about the art of looking, and it is indeed an art. It is far to easy to glance at an image, whether it is a photograph, a painting or even a sculpture and think ‘oh, I get it, that’s a man, house, apple or a dog.’ What is not easy is to understand what went into the making of the image and even less easy to consider what it means to the artist or what it might mean to another person.
I have also been thinking about the need (or not) of understanding the ‘theory’ of art and its place in the world we inhabit in the 21st century, which is certainly very different from its place in earlier centuries when it was often mainly the purview of the rich or the important, or part of the religious/spiritual world.
Last week I had a ‘lightbulb moment’, call it an epiphany if you will. I would not treat someone for a disorder without carefully examining them, listening to their past and present symptoms, researching the possible range of treatments and thinking carefully about all the options. Why should I not treat art with the same care and consideration?

There are two parallel strands to this. One is about learning how to take the best images I can, which talk, at least to myself, but hopefully also to others, about what is important to me and my view of the world. This does mean being open and allowing others the opportunity of seeing myself, my thoughts. The other strand is doing other artists (I am considering photographers in the main) the courtesy of thinking carefully about their worlds. This means learning about the present themes in all art, being open to areas that I find difficult but also learning how to speak about art in a way that others can understand.

In a recent article about her work, Carla van de Puttelaar talks about the need to study the entire oeuvre of an artist you wish to emulate. Her images resonate with the velvety smoothness of the Dutch Old Masters, translated for modern eyes. In the same journal (SSHOP 30th Anniversary Edition II), images by Romina Ressia also echo that era, with present day emblems such as popcorn substituted for the objects that would have had meaning in an earlier century. It is clear that both photographers have studied the earlier artists intensively, the images immediately brought Rembrandt and the other Flemish artists to my mind, while the modern twists gave them an edge. They are not copies but re-interpretations. The types are as relevant now as they were in the 17th  century, only the look on the faces of the women has changed, less submissive, more in control of their lives and their choices.

To write a meaningful critique of an artist you need to understand them, their history and their influences together with knowing how the type of work they are making fits within the time / era of their work. Is it art, documentary, protest, or portrait? Who was it made for? Is it straight or subversive (and if so why)? Over and above that you need to look, and allow time for your own interpretations to become clear. It is too simple (and something I am aware I am guilty of) to just reflect on what the guru’s say. That may give you a lead in and inform your thinking, but will not substitute for personal opinions together with imaginative thought.

Summary:
Look – with your mind
Think – with your brain
Write – with your personal voice

Summary week ending 22/09/17

Not a very productive week.

Photos:

Very  limited outside of EYV

  • did take some occasional selfies – but not impressed with them
  • didn’t have my camera with me when I went out today – so experimented with some indoor lighting on my phone

Blog:

  • Managed to both do the images and the write up for exercise 4.2. Found this interesting as even though the day was cloudy got some interesting shots using diffused light.

Reading:

  • Finished BJP September copy – interesting piece of work by Sanne de Wilde on ‘The Island of the Colour Blind’ which fits into my thoughts on photos of people / parents of people with autism.
  • still reading Clarke the photograph however had a lightbulb moment about the need for understanding the theory behind the work – I would not treat anyone without understanding the disorder and how the medicine or therapy was likely to work – so a similar thought process is required here. Having come to that mental agreement I am actually finding the theory easier!