NICOLA SOUTH STUDENT NUMBER: 514516
“MY PRESENCE IN MY PLACE“
In this work I am sharing elements of my presence in the place that I exist. These parts of my identity are shown as both their tangible elements and filtered essences, different ways of seeing – two parts that make up the whole. My intention in presenting both the tangible and the essences is that when interpreting them with their own visual skills viewers will both be able to both see and sense these fragments of myself.
Rowing #1 (Image 55)
Rowing #2 (Image 5)
Sailing #1 (Image 74)
Sailing #2 (Image 44)
Running #1 (Image 49)
Running #2 (Image 15)
Relaxing # 1 (Image 66)
Relaxing #2 (Image 22)
Socialising #1 (Image 81)
Socialising #2 (Image 28)
Look back at the themes we’ve examined relating to place and our presence within it. What areas inspired you most?
The culmination of this course is a self-directed assignment where you have free rein to choose a subject that relates to any of the material discussed in the course. You may have gathered skills and insights through the projects that you want to revisit or you may have been inspired by other ideas. The only stipulation is that the final outcome must represent a notion of identity and place that you are personally inspired by. Make sure that your work is visually consistent, relevant to the subject matter you choose and holds together well as a set, both visually and conceptually.
Think carefully about your editing decisions: Which images need to be there? Which ones repeat other images? Are you holding on to a favourite that is no longer required? Do you need to re-shoot anything?
This work is intended to communicate my identity in the place I am in, through different ways of seeing. I am sharing activities that are important to me and have presented them in two different ways – two parts that make up a whole.
Various photographers have inspired me while developing this work, but overall I hold onto a view expressed by Robert Frank “there is one thing the photograph must contain; the humanity of the moment…realism is not enough – there has to be vision and the two together can make a good photograph. It is difficult to describe where matter ends and mind begins” (Rosenblum, 2007).
During this last part of Identity and place I have seen and experienced different ways of representing subjects, from clinical realism, to playful decontextualisation, to the implied intimacy of traces, to ascribed abstract meaning. A photograph is a constructed creation and its context affects the way it’s interpreted; viewers will most likely be searching for context and meaning when they look at it. Berger too talked about both the materiality and the spirituality in ways of seeing (Berger, 2008). So using some of the different ways of seeing that I have learnt, I have presented both the objects and their essences to manifest the subjects that form my identity in my place.
I have presented these subjects in detail but stripped of their context, dehumanised apart from small traces so that the viewer will see them as objects but will be left searching for their meaning; why are they in front of the camera? Are they telling a story? What is their story?
I have also presented the filtered essence of these subjects. Those images represent the context of the subjects, but in a very personal way; as a snapshot of a field of vision, through a slow motion viewer finder, the physiological elements of a time and place and activity; the sights, sounds, smells noises and feelings.
When photographing the “essence of” images I was influenced by Shore and Barth, though his images are razor sharp and Barth’s appear out of focus, who both advocate there doesn’t need to be a central point of emphasis. I used techniques I developed when looking from a single viewpoint as Perec did (Perec and Lowenthal, 2010) as well as exploiting the natural fall of my gaze and the perspective it took. I was affected by Barth’s motivation to engage deeply in a moment in a Zen like manner, losing track of any narrative so the viewer becomes “immersed in looking and self-conscious of looking for its own sake” (Bombmagazine.org, 2018). For this I used her technique of focusing on nothing in particular in the foreground so the images appear out of focus.
As I photographed the “isolated” subjects I similarly immersed myself in the process, remembering how Shore describes taking a “hyperlucid” stare, and Soth’s description of deliberate shooting. In my makeshift studio I contemplated hard but in a different way, on the subject, about the composition, lighting, and relationships between objects, when there were more than one.
When editing I kept my intention to share parts of my identity in this place through different ways of seeing as foremost. I hope that by presenting my different representations of each of these subjects, the related object and their essence, I have helped the viewer to anchor more meaning, while using their own visual skills to interpret my images. Walker Evans said ‘The matter of art in photography may come down to this: it is the capture and projection of the delights of seeing; it is the defining of observation full and felt.’ (AMERICAN SUBURB X, 2018), I hope that it can be both felt and seen in this work.
AMERICAN SUBURB X. (2018). STEPHEN SHORE:. [online] Available at: https://www.americansuburbx.com/2010/12/stephen-shore-uncommon-places-2004.html [Accessed 31 Jul. 2018].
Bombmagazine.org. (2018). Light, Looking: Uta Barth by Sabine Mirlesse – BOMB Magazine. [online] Available at: https://bombmagazine.org/articles/light-looking-uta-barth/ [Accessed 11 Aug. 2018].
Rosenblum, N. (2007). A world history of photography. New York: Abbeville Press.Frank, World history of photography Naomi Rosenblum Short C & N p 55 cited in Short, M. (2011). Context and Narrative. 1000 Lausanne: Ava Publishing SA.
Short, M. (2011). Context and Narrative. 1000 Lausanne: Ava Publishing SA.
Berger, J. (2008). Ways of seeing. London: Penguin Books.
Perec, G. and Lowenthal, M. (2010). An attempt at exhausting a place in Paris. Cambridge, Mass.: Wakefield Press.