Saturday, 30 January 2010

"A mind, once stretched by a new idea, never returns to it's original dimensions".

Oliver Wendell Holmes

Friday, 29 January 2010

Isn't it funny ...

how sometimes things just seem to fall into place!

At my recent tutorial with L she talked to me about my approach to our current project - particularly about getting bogged down in how I was going to photograph it and my concerns about what my 'end product' was going to be. I didn't get it! I thought I did, but I was still very caught up in trying to do something 'arty and creative' for this project.

The same thing happened at my group crit with J this week. Again she tried to stress to me that it was not so much about the end product but the process. She also suggested putting up the photographs I've collected that represent my 'losses' so that I could see the work and take time to consider it. Although I was taking it in, I still didn't 'get' it.

Then came A's crit session. She started off with one idea and explained how it had taken her through a series of others to her current idea which is to have both photographs and an old cine film of her father and the feeling of dreaming (not the dreams themselves). She particularly liked the idea of REM and wanted to create the flicker that's associated with it. S suggested including the sound of the film going through the machine. I asked J if this was a common thing with 1st year students - do we over-complicate things? Do we over-think? Her answer was yes.

And suddenly it dawned on me! All A really needed to do was put a blank piece of film though a machine that flickered white light and made the sound and the viewer would immediately make the association of dreams (well, we did)! And I don't have to go through all the palaver of finding the right location to put my items in to; my final image can be so much simpler than that. It's the very act of researching and pulling together all my 'loss' items that forms the construction of my image.

I think what L and J were trying to tell me is that the 'constructed' image is not the same as the 'staged' image; I've been thinking all along about a staged image. But its not that at all, I've been constructing all along; researching, thinking through my ideas, dismissing some, following others etc. Pulling together all of this is constructing the image!

I don't know if I've got this right or not, but it was such an amazing realisation I was quite overwhelmed by it. I was almost in tears on my way to work at night!! It made me realise that perhaps this is the key to conceptual work? In the past, when I've looked at some works of art, I've thought "what the ...?" It made no sense to me; it seemed almost ridiculous, or even to ridicule the viewer, but perhaps it was that way because it was the sum of all that had gone before it - all the research, the ideas, the 'construction'?!

Wow, what a session!

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Cedric Delsaux

Many of his images are constructed, but I'm really drawn to the images he makes of industrialisation, many of which aren't constructed.

However, the ones which he seems most well known for are those which include Star Wars figures! Called 'The Dark Lens', he has super-imposed Star Wars characters onto his industrial/urbanisation photographs. I think they are extremely well done and are very clever.

Another Layer of Loss

It took me a long time to come up with an idea for our current project 'The Constructed Image' but I finally came up with something that started over Christmas and New Year.

For a while now, I've been putting together a list of people I would like to get in touch with and with the bad weather making anything outside a no-go, I sent off a load of emails.

Some people responded and some people didn't and it got me thinking more about the things I've lost in my life. Most recently and most obviously, Alan and our relationship. Most people would think that 4 years on the separation would be long settled, but it's strange how you can just go on losing after something like that. It just seemed to me like an onion, peeling back the different layers. And yet somehow not. An onion being peeled would imply that there will be a core, something to reach at the end of the process. But it's not like that; I don't think that it's a metaphor for a part of the loss I haven't dealt with yet. It just seems like an on-going process - another layer of loss.

And there are so many things I've lost in my life. Nothing as dramatic as death or great tragedy, but ongoing -sometimes subtle, sometimes not so subtle - stripping of layers like wallpaper on old houses.

So I'm thinking of taking symbols of this loss and photographing them inside the old houses and abandoned places that I photograph - acknowledging that that's why I'm drawn to them; because they've lost things like I have. Photographs of the friends that I've lost because I'm no longer part of a 'successful, suburban couple', the family I've lost because I no longer live with their son, the sister-in-law, the house, the money, the car, etc. And maybe of some of the other losses - Aunt M, mum because of her illness, dad etc.

I think this is perhaps a much bigger and on-going process, but it's my idea so far.

I'm also thinking about the other part of the project, 'the photographic object', so am thinking I'd like to shoot on polaroid to signify nostalgia - will think about that more.

And on a more cheerful note, I'm so glad that despite the things I lost as a result of separating from Alan, the one thing I didn't lose was him! C x And also, we lose things in our lives to make way for new things and I have many new things in my life to be grateful for - and I am.

It's been a while ...

since I've posted anything. In fact, it seems like a while since I've done anything that relates to photography or art!

Coming back to Glasgow wasn't as bad as I thought it might be; actually, it was quite nice. And despite one or two problems, it's remained quite nice. One problem was the cold! The bad weather continued and the flat was very cold - I dread to think what my heating bill will be! However, it did mean that I put up curtains and now the flat is starting to look quite homely; I feel I'm settling in here now. The cold did mean that I still didn't/couldn't get out and about and take photographs.

Second problem is that I caught a cold. Not just any cold, a real nasty one which will just not go away (maybe it was flu - I had the whole tummy bug thing to go with it). It's really knocked me for six and means that again I haven't been out and about taking any photographs.

All of which now means that I'm going through a real crisis of ... commitment? Self-confidence/belief? All I know is that for the past few days I'm really starting to wonder if I'm just not a bit out of my depth? I just can't help thinking that I really don't have what it takes to be at art school. I look at T's work and she has more talent in her little finger than I do in my whole head!! I'm not saying body, because I know that I'm talented in terms of making things - my sewing, knitting etc. - it's just that I'm not creative like she is; I just don't have the ideas, I just don't have the 'eye'. My stuff is all so 'ordinary', so mundane, so straight-laced. Maybe I just missed my chance to develop a creative outlook when I chose the safe route at college, came home from London, settled as the 'suburban housewife'!

But that's what's so frustrating - I know that inside me I have someone who is capable of being more creative! I have been looking at old photographs and remembering when I used to make my own clothes and dress pretty wildly, when I trawled the junk shops for things to do up - before I had to worry about the business image, or before old furniture wasn't high enough up on the status ladder!!

I know people will tell me I'm being hard on myself, that it will take time, but I worry that I don't have time, that I'll run out of money before I can get through this degree, or that it just won't be long enough to strip away the years of conforming.

T is very supportive - I definitely think we were meant to meet. No such thing as coincidence, I'd already been in the queue and left to go ... if I hadn't done that, she would have been standing behind someone else! She inspires me - makes me wish I was younger and had my time again. L is very supportive too - I can hear her voice telling me not to be so hard on myself, not to have such demanding standards.

Anyway, this is just me feeling sorry for myself because I'm under the weather and like the weather, it will clear up ... eventually!!! Must get on now.

Saturday, 2 January 2010

"And the time came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." — Ana├»s Nin

Time to go back!

I started this blog so that it would just be as an on-line sketchbook for my research etc, but I'm changing that already! It's almost time to go back to Glasgow and I have some pretty mixed feelings about it.

I can't say it's been a particularly good break, but it's certainly been a quiet one. The end of term was extremely stressful, then a full week's work straight after that - add in mum's operation and the whole thing becomes one major stressful event. But it's not just been that, after stress high comes the inevitable low and boy, did it hit bad this time round; so it's taken a while to get over it all.

The weather hasn't helped of course; I feel like I've been trapped here!! I haven't taken a single photograph the whole time I've been home (the iPhone doesn't really count!) but my head and my heart weren't quite in it I guess.

And now I have to pack up and leave my home again to move back to the flat in Glasgow. It's not that there's anything wrong with it, it's just not home. This place means so much to me - it was/is my safe haven after all that has happened and it's very unsettling to be somewhere else.

However, needs must and I am looking forward to going back to GSA. But I've read through the new project brief and I feel very out of my depth. I know the whole point is that you go to uni to learn but I really feel that I lack the creativity that so many of the others in the class have. Got to keep at it though, keep an open mind and try my best - but can't do it from here, so tomorrow I'm packing up my stuff and the cat and I are heading west!!!!

Friday, 1 January 2010

The Constructed Image

Jeff Wall
Gregory Crewdson:
"I think I always have been drawn to photography because I want to construct a perfect world. I want to try to create this moment that is separate from the chaos of my life"
Mari Mahr
Andreas Gursky:Thomas Demand