BA (Hons) Photography
Independent Practice: Realisation 367MC
Student: MATTHEW HAGUE Date: 13.05.16
Working title: Scir Burna
|1.TOPIC / TREATMENT & AUDIENCE
A brief description of the project you will be carrying out including the methodology you will undertake, the presentation strategy you aim to employ, and the context for which you intend to create the work.
For this module I will document the journey of the culverted River Sherbourne, which was central to the towns history and development. Now, it has become a disrupted, non-linear route with the ever-developing city encroaching and interfering with the waterway. I will begin my exploration at the source in Corley following it into the city center and then back out ending in Baginton where it merges with the River Sowe. I intend not to focus on the river itself, but rather the surrounding landscape, with an emphasis on the impact that man has had on nature and how they interact with one another.
I intend to use a walking practice, which will slow down my image making and allow me to create a considered, in depth exploration of the landscape. Also this will also allow me to fully immerse myself in the environment and be forced to contend with the non-linear course. Although I will be subjecting the reader to a condensed selection of the walk, I will approach the documentation from a ‘passers by’ perspective in which I hope enables the readers to evoke their own impression of the journey.
The final output of the work will be a series of images that will be exhibited in an entirely self-made photo book. This will dictate my shooting style and visual language, as I will be mindful of images working in different ways, creating a loose narrative. The design and sequencing of the book will give the audience the sense of a wandering gaze, while pairings and scale will act as punctuation. This will encourage a varied pace of the perusal, forcing the reader to pause at certain stages while moving through other sections more swiftly. Instead of being focused on singular images, I will tie sections together and creating different layers, so the combination of images becomes more than individual parts.
The final body of work will expose Coventry’s neglect to the historic waterway and constitute a portrait into the impact that man is having on the natural landscape. The visual language will enable an experiential reading of the journey while allowing personal interpretation from the reader.
|2. SKILLS AND RESOURCE REQUIREMENTS
Identify the skills you think you will need to develop, and the resources you envisage being required to enable a successful resolution of your idea within the given time and theme.
The art of walking and observing will be a big part of this project and for me to get the most considered body of work I will need to develop these skills substantially. This will require me to build upon skills I gained in the previous module and re-visit the journey multiple times. Acquiring foot ware appropriate for long distance walking will be very important, as the walk needs to be a comfortable and natural as possible. As this is a personal project I intend to document alone to allow for a thorough documentation and immersion of the surroundings avoiding the distractions of others. Organization, planning, contingency planning and time management are all key skills to build on upon the creation of my images and the putting together of my book. Binding the book will take some time so I need to ensure I have it printed with a buffer week before the deadline.
In terms of equipment I will be keeping what I carry with me to a minimum. To adhere to this I will be shooting digitally with a single 35mm lens. This will allow me to keep a consistent visual language to my images while at the same time simplifying my practice when out walking. The focal length of 35mm will help me in creating an observers perspective, as each image will be accordant with one another. Shooting digitally will give me the ability to coherently colour edit the images to help the flow of the body of work.
When putting the final book together I will need to consider different paper options and binding methods. Binding the book myself will require me to practice on dummy models and become confident with this skill. It’s also important that I use the correct tools for this, such as a bone folder to ensure a smooth fold of the pages and an awl when making the holes for stitching. Waxed linen thread is important for binding, as it’s the most durable material for binding while not ripping the paper.
Looking into photographers working in a similar area of interest will be my initial area of research. With walking artists such as Richard Long and Hammish Fulton while also photographers using a walking practice to assist their photographic work such as Paul Gaffney, Will Steacy and Hin Chua. Also important is to explore how different artists document the landscape, with regards to Todd Hido, John Gossage, Fay Godwin and Ron Jude.
Its also important to not focus my research just around photographic practitioners so I will read into academic texts such as Liz Wells’ Land Matters and walking writers such as Phil Smiths Mytheogeography and Jon Kabat Zinn.
Plan how you will use the study time allocated for this Module. This would include dates for tutorials, seminars, workshops, shooting, processing, printing, editing, mounting etc. (You are advised to build in a one-week buffer zone – i.e. have everything ready a week before the deadline, as something always goes wrong..!)
I will create a printable timetable to be addressed accordingly, which will be really beneficial in the construction of this module. Giving me the ability to see months in advance when my personal deadlines are and allowing me to complete the module with a decent buffer time. Going day my day will allow me to specifically select the days in which I will make work, edit work and finalize my final piece. This will also allow me contingency planning if my process becomes delayed.
Attached to the end of this document will be the timetable I have used to complete this module.
|4. OBJECTIVES AND OUTCOMES
With reference to the Assessment Requirements (see below) and Intended Learning Outcomes for this Module, specify what you intend to achieve by the end of this project and try and summarize what you hope to have learnt. This section should also include a sentence describing how you want your audience to respond to your work – how, ideally it would be appreciated and understood.
By the end of this module I hope to have a considered, rigorously researched body of work that I am truly proud of and which I will build upon after the deadline in May. My final artifact will be a sound reflection of my research and development and will be coherent with the themes explored. My research into different practitioners, writers and other sources will have influenced both the creation of work and the final outcome. While at the same time I will have generated my own style and visual method of image creation and execution.
The presentation of the work will be an alternate way of presenting a book in a gallery environment. The supporting elements to the book will give the audience subtle hints at the journey I took, but will leave enough unsaid to allow the reader to evoke their own impression of the work. With the artifact being the only image work on display there will be no distracting elements to disrupt the reading.
I hope to have a clear understanding of producing a body of work suitable for presentation in a professional environment. This will enable me to further my professional practice and develop as a photographer. I will also learn how to successfully exhibit a body of work in a group of others in a manner that showcases my work accordingly without hindering the presentation of others.
My body of work will expose how the city regeneration in Coventry is encroaching on the historical midlands waterway, while at the same time encapsulating the impact that man is having on our natural landscape.
For my 367MC, I combined a walking practice with the curiosity of Coventry’s neglect towards its historical waterway, the River Sherbourne. Having started my documentation very literally focusing on the river without deviation, my considered final outcome is an entirely different approach to following the rivers course.
Scir Burna encompassed a range of experimentation, from the time of day I chose to shoot, to exploration such as the inclusion of sound. My decision to not incorporate sound was I wanted the images to evoke an emotion rather than to describe. A weakness of my experimentation would be that of not exploring how film could help slow down my practice more. When I visit this project again I feel this will be an option I will consider. Researching into walking artists and the theory of a walking practice progressed the execution of my documentation, giving me a better understanding of a meditative approach to photography. A wide scope of research tools helped encapsulate my visual language and retain consistency. This also benefitted greatly in sequencing by images into a book format, something I had previously not experimented with.
Feedback proved to be very useful in this module, providing constructive advancements throughout. Having access to several different tutors with various areas of expertise diversified my research and experimentation. Such as social art practices which I wouldn’t have previously thought to explore.
Ron Jude’s ‘Lago’ and Paul Gaffney’s ‘We Make the Path by Walking’ were key inspirations in the creation and realisation of my work. Their muted tones and attention to sequencing were an essential basis for my execution. Exploring the work of Joel Sternfeld and Michal Iwanowski highlighted the importance of a systematic ordering. Had I not gained this knowledge the reading of my work wouldn’t seem considered enough, resulting in an amateur output.
My work had initially been based around an installation style environment. The decision not to do this was due to the subtle nature of my work, feeling I needed something reflecting this more appropriately. Choosing a book presentation granted the audience the ability to recreate the walk, turning page by page, whilst also giving myself control over pace and sequencing.
My strengths in this project were time management and organisation, with it being key for me to have a completed project in order to print and bind the book. Had I not been so on top of this it would have resulted in the output being rushed and to less of a professional standard. Weaknesses would be that I contained my shooting style too early on, resulting in a specific visual language from the start.
All-inclusive, I believe that I have successfully achieved a professional output communicating my intentions. Responding to current social issues whilst drawing attention to our changing landscape. Despite battling with what it was I wanted to share, through rigorous research and the use of appropriate presentation I feel I have finished with a conceptually strong body of work, to a professional standard.
There is two sides to every discussion, and being a digital native i should be inclined to say is does matter, however through my own experiences i can say it doesnt matter.
To an extent the type of equipment that the practitioner uses does not matter all too much. If you have a keen eye and a creative vision, you should be able to make strong work with the worst tool. But we’ve all heard that before.
I have had to cope with this first hand, however. When in Kiruna temperatures were dipping as low as -15, which resulted in my camera (canon 550D) deciding that the weather is too much to handle and gave up on me. Thankfully i had brought with me my small compact camera (canon S120) which i used to take the rest of the trips photos. Granted the quality has dipped and there are many restrictions in comparison, but i was still able to create good content.
Below i will demonstrate with a image that i took and edited on my mobile phone.
PHOTO: Taken and edited on my iPhone 4s.
The discussion about Go Pro’s is actually really interesting and got me thinking about something i had never previously thought of before. Using a Go Pro does change the way you film entirely. There is no screen on the back of the camera (unless you opt in to buying a external screen) so you don’t know what your framing is like until you see it on the computer. Which is really cool. You care less about making sure that you’re abiding my all the ‘rules’ in photography and in turn this allows you to concentrate on getting the shot and not wanting to retake because you cropped someones arm out.
If i’m not one for setting resolutions i’m definitely not one for sticking by them. But i thought i would give it a go this year as the resolution i would set would only benefit myself.
I have decided to set up a blog style portfolio of all the pictures that i will and have taken while being here. I then hope for this to continue after i have finished my erasmus experience here in Sweden.
The link to my new website is http://matthewhague.tumblr.com/
I hope that this will encourage me to continue creating work and being creative. Using tumblr also allows me to receive ‘likes’ and gain a following which is a good step into gaining more exposure of my work.
The theme i chose to use was a portfolio style page that has an endless scroll. This is the bridge between having a blog and a portfolio website, which is what i will be using until i create a professional website later on in the year.
My first semester here in Sweden is going to be exceptionally hard to beat. I made some lifelong friends here that are planning on revisiting later on in the new year. I travelled to places that i never would have dreamed of before, which finished of my year with seeing the northern lights in Abisko, Kiruna. Truly epic.
However this new semester is going to be full of a completely new crowd of people so hopefully i will have as epic of a time that i had last semester.
Here are a few photos of my time in Kiruna.
Ive been here in Karlstad for 2 months now and there aren’t many bad things to say at all. I have made friends from all corners of the globe from Australia to Austria and after 2 months everyone is starting to settle down in their own small groups of friends. GOOD
The only things i can possibly fit into the bad category is the quickly approaching shorter days and the quicker approaching inevitable cold weather. But swedes are well prepared for this with grit being placed down every morning before i’m even awake and warm clothing everywhere you look. BAD
As its a campus environment there are regular social events (alcohol induced parties) and days out being organised by the International team here. Combined with my own travel plans and poker evenings im currently keeping busy. GOOD
Last week i visit Latvia’s capital city on a ‘booze cruise’ from Stockholm to Riga. This was loads of fun, late nights of swaying on a ferry doing karaoke to Justin Timberlake, and early hungover mornings to go explore the beautiful city that is Riga. I would recommend visiting Riga to anyone, and would definitely like to return myself. GOOD
Thomas and I have also recently booked a trip to visit the very north of sweden in Kiruna (this trip is in a week, talk about being spontaneous). The bus ride is a whopping 22 hours each way, but i’m pretty sure it will all be worth it when i see the northern lights above me. We have pre booked dog sledding and snowmobiling for the first day, so im pretty excited for that. GOOD
Finally onto school work. It seems to be an awful lot easier than the english education system. We have class twice a week (one day theory, one day practical) which with my travel plans works really in my favour. UGLY
As a concluding statement, Karlstad is easily 90% good and 10% bad. V GOOD