AD7000 – Major Project Initial Proposal

Initial Draft Proposal

The place of photography: memory, time and mortality.

Why do we cherish family photos, why do we feverishly archive; collating and dating old black and white prints in to bound albums, storing iphone photos onto Instagram accounts? These questions I have explored over the last 2 years, drawing on my personal experience, but also investigating and researching the experience of my peers. My research has so far been a journey that has taken me off on several paths, but along the way I realised my interest is honed to the issues which fundamentally flow form these questions: the influence of images on memory, why memories change and why we interpret images differently in time.

From the discussions in the 70’s raised by Susan Sontag in her work ‘On Photography’(1977) of the power of photography in shaping society and Barthes’ photographic inquiry’s in ‘Camera Lucida’ (1980), we have come to understand the significance to personal and social histories of the photographic image. The position of self within personal relationships, within family and in society is often understood within of the conventions of the photographic image. Annette Kuhn, professor in Film Studies at Queen Mary University of London, has provided the work, ‘Family Secrets: Acts of Memory and Imagination’, which is an excellent example of the concerns of visual communication, cultural and personal histories. This work is very poignant for the research into childhood memories and is preceded by the influential research on this matter by Marianne Hirsch. In her work ‘Family Frames’, (1997) Hirsch, a leading academic in the research of memories and the transmission of memory writes about the important considerations of photographic representation and the construction of family relationships. Hirsch looks at how photographs can have the duality to represent for us a sense of cultural social security, and at the same time mask social failure and dysfunctions.

Such important questions of the relationship between photography and memory, yet there is another important consideration to make which David Bate raised in his paper ‘The Memory of Photography’ (2010); the manner and capacity one has to remember and recall. Bates asks us to consider this quote from Sigmund Freud:

‘If I distrust my memory – neurotics, as we know, do so to a remarkable extent, but normal people have every reason for doing so as well – I am able to supplement and guarantee its working by making a note in writing. In that case the surface upon which this note is preserved, the pocket-book or sheet of paper, is as it were a materialized portion of my mnemic apparatus, which I otherwise carry about with me invisibly. I have only to bear in mind the place where this “memory” has been deposited and I can then “reproduce” it at any time I like, with the certainty that it will have remained unaltered and so have escaped the possible distortions to which it might have been subjected in my actual memory. (“The ‘Mystic Writing-pad’” 429)

And yet with all the acknowledgements of false and changing interpretations of images of the past we are certain of the place of photography and as an “aide-memoire”, a tool to explore and extract

ideas and beliefs from our subconscious minds. To explore the use of photography in this way; a process more aligned to a psychotherapy is not new. Photo-Therapy was a term coined by Jo Spence in her work with Rosy Martin on the relationship of photography and subject. Adopting techniques from co-counselling, the subject was able to act out narrative and claim ownership of their own representation. Many current collaborative projects using photography to promote self-advocacy have their legacy with the work of Spence and Martin.

My latest body of work (exhibited June/July 2018) was driven from a series of formal interviews with project participants, discussing personal memories linked to photographs and objects. The final pieces were developed as mixed media objects (assorted vintage mirrors framing a collage of old photographs).

‘These mirror framed collages were conceptual representations manifested from a participatory research project concerned with memories.’

This project united for me several themes which that have run throughout the history of photography and into much contemporary practice – our desire to hold onto moments that recede into the past, and to visit experiences as a way of coming to terms with our histories and the present. This will continue be the focus of my practical work going forward.

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AD7000 Objects/Memories- Ideas Development

Creating memories into objects

Creating a montage of photographs designed with ‘forget-me-nots’ form collected and found vintage frames.

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BOOKS & ALBUMS

In order to contextualise some of the images that I had selected from the albums the family albums of K  E and S. I have scanned them and produced a small book (layout below). Turning pages and being confronted with images after one another allows a journey of thoughts and creates a narrative. As the viewer we conjure stories and relationships between the characters; like detectives we look at the settings, the scene –  was it a holiday, a family occasion, a birthday or a formal portrait family? We marry together scenarios of our experience with the images we are viewing.

The album like the framing and the border around the photograph becomes like a border around our lives at different times.

POTENTIAL BOOK LAY OUT 7cm x7cm

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AD7904 – Professional Development

A report to examine the current contemporary position of a potential participatory action research project that will inform the use of photographic imagery for explorations of memory and transmitted memories to overcome emotional trauma and loss. The project will involve aspects of participatory art; specifically, creative narrative-based activities, image capture and performance.

Participatory action research is a current and very relevant process of enquiry conducted by and for participants of the project. Photography has established itself as important tool for activities facilitating and aiding to self-advocacy. I am interested in gathering research which will support my work on post-memory and inform my understanding of the potential of art/photo-therapy to support positive mental health and wellbeing. In order to do this, I will be considering work which has been previously published, I will look at national and local creative support networks, access current information on socially engaged practice, establish a sound research strategy with consideration to ethical issues and look to the possibilities for funding.

From the discussions in the 70’s raised by Susan Sontag in her work ‘On Photography’(1977) of the power of photography in shaping society and Barthes’ photographic inquiry’s in ‘Camera Lucida’ (1980), we have come to understand the significance to personal and social histories of the photographic image. The position of self within personal relationships, within family and in society is often understood within of the conventions of the photographic image. Annette Kuhn, professor in Film Studies at Queen Mary University of London, has provided the work, ‘Family Secrets: Acts of Memory and Imagination’, which is an excellent example of the concerns of visual communication, cultural and personal histories. This work is very poignant for the research into childhood memories and is preceded by the influential research on this matter by Marianne Hirsch. In her work ‘Family Frames’, (1997) Hirsch, a leading academic in the research of memories and the transmission of memory writes about the important considerations of photographic representation and the construction of family relationships. Hirsch looks at how photographs can have the duality to represent for us a sense of cultural social security, and at the same time mask social failure and dysfunctions.

Such important questions of the relationship between photography and memory, yet there is another important consideration to make which David Bate raised in his paper ‘The Memory of Photography’ (2010); the manner and capacity one has to remember and recall. Bates asks us to consider this quote from Sigmund Freud:

‘If I distrust my memory – neurotics, as we know, do so to a remarkable extent, but normal people have every reason for doing so as well – I am able to supplement and guarantee its working by making a note in writing. In that case the surface upon which this note is preserved, the pocket-book or sheet of paper, is as it were a materialized portion of my mnemic apparatus, which I otherwise carry about with me invisibly. I have only to bear in mind the place where this “memory” has been deposited and I can then “reproduce” it at any time I like, with the certainty that it will have remained unaltered and so have escaped the possible distortions to which it might have been subjected in my actual memory. (“The ‘Mystic Writing-pad’” 429)

And yet with all the acknowledgements of false and changing interpretations of images of the past we are certain of the place of photography and as an “aide-memoire”, a tool to explore and extract ideas and beliefs from our subconscious minds. To explore the use of photography in this way; a process more aligned to a psychotherapy is not new. Photo-Therapy was a term coined by Jo Spence in her work with Rosy Martin on the relationship of photography and subject. Adopting techniques from co-counselling, the subject was able to act out narrative and claim ownership of their own representation. Many current collaborative projects using photography to promote self-advocacy have their legacy with the work of Spence and Martin.

PhotoVoice is a current charity that has been set up to work in conjunction with national and international community-based organisations to promote the use of participation photography in the use of storytelling and promotion of self-advocacy to socially excluded groups. Their mission statement reads, ‘to promote the ethical use of photography for positive social change, through delivering innovative participatory photography projects’. Their vision ‘is for a world in which everybody has the opportunity to represent themselves and tell their own story’.

A significant case study for an action research project; In 2015 PhotoVoice worked with Corma a UK based charity set up to support Vulnerable and young people. This Project was in conjunction with the ‘Adoptables’ organisation which helps to facilitate understanding and expression of experience for young people affected by adoption. As with all PhotoVoice projects there is considerable emphasis on advocacy. Digital workshops for 15 yr olds with adoption experience were held providing them with the tools and skills to explore and share their experiences in relation to the adoption and support network. The work produced from these participation workshops gave information and was insightful to professionals as to how to better support young people through the adoption process and the activity itself was empowering for the young people that participated. An exhibition of captioned images was produced from the images produced, which highlighted issues around adoption, informing many of the agencies that are involved in the process.

Locally, Art Shape are a charity established in 1993 that run countywide art programmes with a focus on disability and social inclusion. Art shape are a founding member of Create Gloucestershire, a ‘collaborative laboratory for change’. Create Gloucestershire offer a platform for organisations and individuals to develop arts strategies for and by practitioners. Research, ideas and thinking are encouraged by Create Gloucestershire to promote arts in Gloucestershire by the network of artists, organisations and strategic partner across different sectors. Typical opportunities for participation by the vast network of members are the current ‘Photography with Mindfulness’ workshops’ run by Ruth Davey as part of her ‘Look Again’ projects. ‘Look Again’ promotes the use of photography and mindfulness as tools to see life and the world differently. Ruth Davey collaborates with, health practitioners and specialist coaches.

Access to relevant current and contemporary professional development opportunities and networking for collaboration are presented at festivals and symposiums. An important up and coming event to attend this June in Plymouth is ‘Social Making: Socially Engaged Practice Now and Next’. Access to such events allows for the exposure ot he most current debates and expertise. Feeling Images: Photography’s Relationship with Illness, Mental Health and Wellbeing Symposium, was one such recent event with specific relevance. Patrick Graham talked about using photography to explore his relationship with his estranged father and coming to terms with his sense of self. Sian Davey spoke about her photographic practice in relation to photography, health and wellbeing, and how it was informed by her background as a trained Psychotherapist. And Rosey Martin, discussed her re-enactment photography through the aforementioned landmark collaboration with Jo Spence.

Participatory action research requires strategy and ultimately funding. National funding; Arts Council England invest public money via grants and bursaries. Arts Council England  also support other agencies that offer funding. A-N, the artist information company provide bursaries for research, Nesta support a small number of ideas that meet their aims, through grant funding, direct investment or challenge prizes. Currently Nesta offer a ‘Good Help Award’, an award for organisations or individuals that demonstrate they are helping people transform their lives by helping them develop their sense of purpose and confidence to take action. Visual Arts South West is typical in its regional approach to supporting arts initiatives, as well as offering valuable information to support access funding. Last month VASW organised a fundraising work shop; ‘Arts Fundraising & Philanthropy for small organisations & artists’. This was an insightful event presented by Amanda Rigali from Arts Fundraising and Philanthropy at Spike Island, Bristol.

As with funding applications, research projects need strategy. In the early 1990’s Caroline Wang and Mary Ann Burris created the action research strategy; Photovoice methodology. Over the last 20 years it has become increasingly used in photographic participatory project design namely in the fields of education, public health, disability and mental health. Using ‘ethnographic techniques that combine photography, critical dialogue, and experiential knowledge, participants reflect on and communicate their communities’ concerns to represent their culture to expose social problems and to ignite social change’ (Burris, M., and C. Wang. 1997)

Ethical issues will arise as part of participatory work, particularly within the field of photography and image making particularly the resulting imagery may be used publicly. There are a range of issues that will potentially arise with different projects. If these issues are not given consideration, before and during the project, there is the potential for the project to do more harm than good to the participants. It will be imperative to make an assessment of risk, establishing ground rules, giving participant choices, operating with caution, (particularly around emotional and mental health) ensuring confidentiality, and anonymity where appropriate.

Participation and collaboration are the key elements to the research project, having suitable participants, expert support, appropriate space and extra personal to facilitate will be vital to a successful outcome. Information about the project and appropriate promotion can ensure the most appropriate individuals are selected for participation and supporting roles Promotion may take the form of a precursor event, exhibition of previous work, ideas in progress, discussion groups and guess talks. Warwickshire Open Studios is an organisation helping visual artists across the Warwickshire area connect with art-lovers who enjoy, buy, commission and participate in their work. As a member exhibitioner, show casing my proposed research project, with current work in progress at this summer’s open studio event in June will be an ideal opportunity to enlist interested participants.

 

Bibliography

Burris, M., and C. Wang. 1997. “Application of Photovoice to Participatory Needs Assessment.” Health Education & Behaviour 24: 369–387

Freud, Sigmund. 1984. “The ‘Mystic Writing-pad.’”. In On Metapsychology: The Theory of Psychoanalysis, Edited by: Freud, Pelican. Vol. 11, 427–433. Harmondsworth: Penguin. 1925

Hirsch, Marianne (1997) Family Frames, Harvard University Press: Cambridge,Massachusetts and London England.

King. N. (2000) Memory, Narrative, Identity: Remembering the Self (Tendencies: Identities, Texts, Cultures) Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh UK

Kuhn, Annette (2002) Family Secrets: Acts of Memory and Imagination, Verso: London,England

https://www.creategloucestershire.co.uk

https://artshape.co.uk

https://photovoice.org

https://www.warwickshireopenstudios.org

AD7802 – Research and Context

Practice description – Film and photography practice investigating personal and cultural ideas of memory and loss using still and moving image methodologies to construct narrative and portraiture.

Photography practice FILM ESSAY – RED TREAD

 

Research Bibliography

Practice description – Film and photography practice investigating personal and cultural ideas of memory and loss using still and moving image methodologies to construct narrative and portraiture.

Barthes, Roland, (1978) ‘Diderot Brecht Eisenstien’ in, Barthes, Roland, Image Music Text, Fontana Press: London, England

A professor at the College de France until his death is 1980; Roland Barthes devoted much of his career to the research in lexicology and sociology. Image Music Text, a collection of essays is regarded as some of his finest work on Film and Photography. Within this body of work are 2 of his the most academically acclaimed pieces; ‘Introduction to the structural Analysis of Narrative ‘ and ‘Death of the Author’. ‘Diderot Brecht Eisenstien’ a rather technical and didactic piece, it’s relevance here is important for the references to personal and perceived meaning, and construction of tableau.

Cathedral of the Pines (2017) [Exhibition of Photographs by Gregory Crewdson,] Photographers Gallery, London, 23rd June – 8th October 2017.

Gregory Crewdson is an American photographer renowned for his cinematically constructed photographs. Acclaimed for previous bodies of work including Beneath the Roses, Crewdson builds film-scene- like sets that construct a tableau. This exhibition is the first time Crewdson has show in the UK and it is the first time the Photographers Gallery has given over all of it’s exhibiting floors to one artist. For the shooting of ‘Cathedral of the Pines’, Crewdson returns to a place of his childhood and produces his typical images of haunting scenes. The subjects (he uses family and friends not actors) appear disconnected and void of emotion. The complex narratives are there for our interpretation, but seem heavily influenced by Crewdson’s sense of self in relation to his place in society and his past. The documentary interview, which was part of the exhibition, revealed Crewdson’s interest in the subtle use of familiar every day objects in his images. Amongst other things, pill bottles on side-tables, dowdy blankets and dressing mirrors are a contestant within the images. For Crewdson and for us, these objects are signifiers that can transport us back to times and places within our own memories.

Eisenstien, Sergei (1986) ‘Colour and Meaning’ in Eisenstien, Sergei, The Film Sense, Faber and Faber: London, pp 92-122

Sergei Eisenstien, born in 1898 was a filmmaker and film theoretician. With early significant black and white film productions such as Strike and Battleship Potemkin, he became acclaimed for his film production techniques that would appeal to all senses not just intellect and emotion. His work The Film Sense discusses the mechanisms of montages to construct film art. The chapter ‘Colour and Meaning’, as with the other sections, has not dated in it’s relevance to the construction of message by the film maker of today. The considerations of yellow may seem somewhat labored and there are many ancient colour theories references. However, the point Eisenstein makes is that the ideas that colour prompt towards understanding of meaning are not limited to the discipline of film, but seem more generally applicable to the creative to look beyond the surface to a deeper appreciation of the work.

Hirsch, Marianne (1997) Family Frames, Harvard University Press: Cambridge, Massachusetts and London, England.

Hirsch, a leading academic in the research of memories and the transmission of memory wrote this important book on the considerations of photographic representation and the construction of family relationships. Hirsch looks at how photographs can have the duality to represent for us a sense of cultural social security, and at the same time mask social failure and dysfunctions. Hirsch’s observations on the salvaged photographs of the Holocaust and the transmission of memory through to generations who can not remember any atrocity, is a powerful example of the way in which collective history and private memory are linked. Hirsch recounts her own instance of this as immigrant Jew settling as a child with her parents in America. Their neighbors were Auschwitz survivors and in their home she remembers seeing photographs of their families that had been killed in the camp. Memories of these images and others photographs that presented death with links in her own history of relatives lost to the Holocaust have prompted Hirsch to coin the phrase ‘post-memory’. This she describes as a memory “memory shot through with holes”, that is a fragmented and second-generation transmission of memory.

Kuhn, Annette (2002) Family Secrets: Acts of Memory and Imagination, Verso: London, England

At the time of the publication of this book, Annette Kuhn was the professor of film studies at Lancaster University and the editor of the film journal Screen. This book provides a great example of Kuhn’s authoritative writing on the concerns of visual communication, cultural and personal histories. This work is very poignant for research into childhood memories and filmic representations of the past. Her autobiographical referencing is both very brave and moving.

Lowry, Joanna (2006) ‘Portraits, Still Video Portraits and the Account of the Soul’ in: Lowry, Joanna and Green, David, eds. Stillness and Time: Photography and the Moving Image. Photoworks/Photoforum, Brighton, England, pp. 65-78.

This essay forms part of a significant collection of work; Stillness and Time, edited by Lowry and Green which has become a ‘go to’ for anyone interested in the relationship of the still and moving image. Among many of the contributing authoritative theorists, Joanna Lowry, an academic at the University of Brighton, contributes an essay concentrating on the questions surrounding the still video portrait. This is a poignant piece of work to consider when looking at the way in which we react as an audience to the moving portrait. A stimulating essay which helps one reflect on the impact of performance on the perception of the audience. There is an extremely relevant reference within this writing to the work of Fiona Tan and her exploration of memory and identity.

Nostalghia , 1983, Directed by Andrei TARKOSKY, [DVD] , Curzon Artificial Eye: London.

‘Nostalghia’ is a film produced by the late Russian filmmaker, Andrei Tarkovsky. It is a film of beautiful cinematography, which is typical of the film productions by the acclaimed Tarkovsky. The film was the second to last movie Tarkovsky made, but the first of all of his movies to be made outside of Russian, so there are interesting influences from the new landscape (Italy) and issues around the liberation from his home regime. The film skilfully uses colour and pace to evoke ideas of memory, isolation and disconnection. The film switches from colour to sepia footage throughout, the monochrome poignantly signifying the protagonist’s memories of his home country. The film requires one to patiently concentrate on the nuances of sequenced frames and the slowness of pace. Tarkovsky uses this to construct a charged atmosphere, leading one to pressing questions of the narrative. To this end the viewer may feel frustrated, as Tarkovsky clearly saw his films, less conventionally, as works of art than as movies to entertainment.

Turkle, Sherry (2011) Evocative Objects: Things We Think With, MIT Press: Cambridge, Massachusetts and London, England.

The author of this collection has skilfully managed to present a body of work, which is both complex and absorbing. For each of the thirty-four essays she has carefully married a significant passage of text from philosophy, literature and theory. These connections, especially in the chapter, Objects of Mourning and Memory, provide thought provoking contrast and comparison. A passage from Susan Sontag’s ‘On Photography’ leads us into a very personal account by Stefan Helmreich of his Grandfather and the SX-70 instant Polaroid camera and how the association of family/kinship and object (Polaroid photograph) can evoke memories of perceived relationships. Equally as contrasting is the text by Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space: The Classic Look at How we Experience Intimate Places and the essay by Glorianna Davenport, Salvaged Photographs. The first reminding us how we are transported by family snaps to a motionless time in the past, which we project onto our ‘store of dreams’ building not a reliable history of memories but a poetic translation of lost expectations and dreams. And on to Davenports essay which starts with the account of a carefully archived box of family photos being destroyed in a fire. This incident, which many of us can relate to, looks at how with the loss of our keepsakes, old personal objects and photographs from our past we loose the connections to our current future interests and activities. The many accounts in the book of recollections from childhood that are hauled from our subconscious by the unexpected encounter with an every day object are fascinating, the personal connections with objects that lay in our subconscious and all at once spring to our minds with nostalgia and a complex poignancy.

FINAL EVALUATION – AD7803 Interrogating Practice

Evaluation

As planned I continued to address the theme of ageing and memory. I had hoped to concentrate on my work on the subject of my mother, which I have done. However, the work has evolved through the module, I have moved more generally to at my experience of her as a person. I have immersed myself in observations of her, scrutinising at some point to know and understand more of how she operates; especially now she is in her eighties.

Experimenting with filming has given me lots of material to consider, some of which I have used and other bits that have been mostly useful as information gathering. I have used conventional filming techniques with a good quality DSLR camera, equipment and accessories and I have also used a simple Gopro. I have experimented with sound and incorporated conventional still photography to support my work on medium format film and digital.

During the first stages of this project I did lots of research, some by chance (festival and exhibitions) and others by recommendation. The work of Andrei Tarkovsky dominated my initial investigations. It is the 85th year of his birth and to mark this Film4 have shown all seven of his feature films, from ‘Ivan’s Childhood’ (1962) to his last award winning film ‘ Sacrifice’ (1986). All of his work has moved me and inspired me to understand more fully my own sense of how to approach my own work. ‘Nostalgia’ (1983), inspired me to push forward with my stylised photographic intentions. Having taken on board many articles about film technique and film theory, I came to realise through the work of Tarkovsky that a film piece can stand alone, simply as a form of art. In the same way as we can stand in front of a single photographic image and interpret the meaning in which ever way we personally are inclined to, a film piece can be experience in the same way. Tarkovsky ’s work is notorious for being difficult to understand in terms of meaning. This was not a concern for him, he produced work that came from his thought’s and feelings in a very instinctive way. There is narrative and there very particular themes and subject matter, but the way he presents the work is about the bringing together of composition, textures, angle and light.

My initial filming involved shooting scenes in a car journey – ‘Gilbert’s Funeral’. This is an interesting and entertaining piece form an observational perspective. I was able to see from a bystander’s point of view the interactions, mannerisms and behaviour between my Mother and I. I was struck by the comedy and humour that I know of her, but have been less aware of lately. There were lots elements for me to take way from this experiment. I considered working further with it developing the bizarre and ludicrous elements with compositional montage of old photographs and comical drawings in the vein of seaside post cards from the 70’s.

Having listening the Heather Agepong and Partrick Graham’s explanation of working on personal projects surrounding their relationship to parents, I was struck by the opportunity to involve my Mother more with the process of creating this work. The car piece cemented by thoughts about the work I wanted to produce, it was not a direction I wanted to pursue, but what I did realise it that my Mother could be more participatory and not just my muse.

I turned my attentions to the sewing machine to explore the mechanism, the functioning, design and sound. I shot a series of clips, hand holding the camera, panning around the machine and moving close in to see the details. Patrick Graham’s work, “the things you left behind” uses objects left for him by his Father as metaphors for specific elements of the relationship he didn’t have with his Dad; a collection of match boxes from his Dad’s travels around the world (without him), pen knives; these represented to Graham the lost ‘typical’ father son bonding experience he was denied. For me the Singer Sewing Machine is an iconic symbol that will represent an array of meaning about my Mother. To explore the machine initially I set it in the context of a home and shot it in a kitchen a place it dominated when I was young.

This shoot served a purpose on one level as an experiment of technique. I found there was considerable difficulty managing the focus at the same time as framing is shot and moving it around the machine. The clips were too short without sufficient leading and tailing off for editing purposes. The jerky random movement of the camera did not serve the viewer well to appreciate the machines’ beauty, design and engineering detail well. However, the experiment with such a narrow depth of field did cement my opinion that this would be a good method to create clips of the machine, which enable the viewer to experience seeing machine in the particular sense – abstract (dreamy) way. Such close-ups take the machine and it’s mechanisms out of the context of sewing, the elements of the machines mechanisms could be cogs in any large Edwardian, industrial mechanical mechanism of an number of processes. The details of the engineering and design of the machine and it make-up are pronounced.

My work developed from this shoot to filming the machine in the studio (daylight) with equipment that would enable me to control the composition more exactly. I wanted to capture the elements of the machine in a more aesthetic way, to abstract them from the machine as an entirety and function. I recorded the sound of the machine separately with an off camera microphone. My focus was to use the conventions of photographic composition to frame elements of the machine, giving a sense of beauty and grace.

Once this work had been edited together it felt strong and I had a good sense of working around the light and incorporating more formal filming techniques. I used a table slider to plan across the length of the machine and extra lighting to balance the exposure from the nature light of the window. I realised the subtly of the camera movements were key to the viewer. The work came across as engaging and pleasing to watch. There was some confusion about the meaning and some saw it and felt perplexed and by the machine not actually functioning as it is supposed to; there was not sewing, the cotton reel didn’t move, the bobbin wasn’t loaded. I fully indented this to be the case. Tarkovsky’s work builds tension through his juxtaposition of unconventional elements and normality. I wanted to challenge the viewer the think a little harder about these images and to wonder why they look like they do.

I planned my main piece to be shot in a large room and from the outset had hoped to use a space I had known of in Warwick. The courthouse is an 18th century municipal building in the centre of the town with a formal ballroom, which has become available to the public. The test shots for light and composition made me feel this would be the perfect space. I wanted to build a relationship between my Mother and the machine and space around them, to have such a vast room, with plenty of light, clear and minimally decorated was ideal. I was able to film my Mother at the machine, her walking towards it and away from it, with out there seeming as though there were any boundaries. I used the room for the filming on four separate occasions and a further time to take still portrait images. Although the exposure of the light was very even the colour temperature did alter as the weeks progressed through the spring and this made reshoots difficult to edit. I had a vision for the work form the outset; the room and light were extremely key factors.

I was prompted to consider using sound, although I believe not to have sound was an option, to this ends I had some ideas around my mother singing. Once again the inclusion of my mother in generating material (Singing recording) inspired me to observe her and see her from a particular (removed) perspective. Her character and good nature seemed extraordinary. Heather Ageprong discussed her relationship with her Father from an occasion when he entered her school to collect her (not usual) which made her run and hide, to him going to the viewing of her exhibition (not expected) when he seemed speechless with pride. She discussed her view of him as a black African man disassociated from her and her lack of any expectation of him emotionally, but that though him; part of her legacy, she is able to be who she is today.

The final ballroom piece has two versions, with and without sound. I will develop the idea to incorporate singing further in the future, at this point it feels clumsy. The imaging of my mother and the machine generated the kind of aesthetic I was looking for. There are still moments of contemplation and gentle reflection and then an unsettling section of quicker movement, which is out of focus at a different pace and some what confusing. The negative space to the room allows all the emphasis to be on the my Mother and the machine. The room enables a framing, it give the space for the presentation of this moving (film) portrayal.

I looked at length at the filming of ‘Breaking Bad’ and the considerations of colour and tones. The contrast of the black of the machine and the soft cool tones of the room work well, as do the blurring from the depth of field in generally muting the tones. I explored this furthering to creating a set of stills from a selection of clips (Ball Room Film stills). These separate printed frames are atmospheric, their styling gives a sense of narrative, one immediately associates them with the genre a film. Like the final ballroom clip their meaning is ambiguous, giving the viewer plenty of opportunity to put their own ideas and experience onto the work. I also took the opportunity to support this final piece with some black and white portraits of my Mother, which I shot on the Mamiya RZ. I wanted to project something more of her identity to go along with the moving images, to convey a strength and grandeur, which may challenge some of the frailty and vulnerability presented in the film piece.

My initial proposal set out to reflect the issues around my Mother’s aging and the changes this brings to her and her relationship with me. I wanted to look at how only through reference to our shared past, she is able to affirm, and help me reference where I stand today. However, I have been able to disassociated myself from our relationship through this work and consider her character and nature alone without dwelling on any significant on the process of change to her relationship with me. It has been challenging to move away from that question and look at how to portray her wholly in the present and she stands today. For this I use the machine in relationship to her as a symbol of her and I use it as metaphor to describe her relationship to the past.

 

FINAL PIECE – AD7803

The final ballroom piece has two versions, with and without sound. I will develop the idea to incorporate singing further in the future, at this point it feels clumsy. The imaging of my mother and the machine generated the kind of aesthetic I was looking for. There are still moments of contemplation and gentle reflection and then an unsettling section of quicker movement, which is out of focus at a different pace and some what confusing. The negative space to the room allows all the emphasis to be on the my Mother and the machine. The room enables a framing, it give the space for the presentation of this moving (film) portrayal.

FINAL VERSION WTH SOUND

PORTRAITS

I also took the opportunity to support this final piece with some black and white portraits of my Mother, which I shot on the Mamiya RZ. I wanted to project something more of her identity to go along with the moving images, to convey a strength and grandeur, which may challenge some of the frailty and vulnerability presented in the film piece.

120 contact

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BALL ROOM 003. Third Shoot

I was able to film my Mother at the machine, her walking towards it and away from it, with out there seeming as though there were any boundaries. I used the room for the filming on four separate occasions and a further time to take still portrait images. Although the exposure of the light was very even the colour temperature did alter as the weeks progressed through the spring and this made reshoots difficult to edit. I had a vision for the work form the outset; the room and light were extremely key factors.

STILLS