Posted in Assignment 4 ~ Critical Review, Coursework

Critical Review Proposal

I’m still waiting to hear back from my tutor so can’t start this exercise until I’ve discussed my idea. Initially, I had been going to discuss Susan Sontag’s theory on Plato’s Cave in regards to photography yet reading the brief again I saw that this has to contextualise with what I have already studied or am planning to.

Throughout Landscape one element has shown up in my Assignment which is typography. In Assignment Two I included a poem with my assignment ‘Come Walk with Us’  On Skype reviewing the assignment my tutor discussed in depth the effect of using writing in photographic work. I hadn’t given it too much thought before this, I’d experimented with a few fonts and the colour of the background yet that had been the extent. Following this Assignment Three became focused on typography, I researched many typography artists and discovered my own love of using my own handwriting in my work something that will continue. Typography seems to have crept upon me and embedded itself in my heart and my work which will be reflected throughout the next assignments and I hope future modules. Therefore it seems the suitable topic to discover and explore with my critical review.

However, typography is too broad a topic. I need to whittle it down to something more specific yet at the moment I’m unsure. I’ll do some reading this week and by the time I discuss it with my tutor I’m sure I will have found an answer. I feel it should be analysing the effect typography has with photos, whether two elements can harmoniously blend. Or sometimes I look at a photo and trying to find a meaning feels like trying to solve a Rubix cube. Eventually, you just move on and look at something else. Yet with a caption your interpretation of the image instantly changes…perhaps I can bring Plato’s’ Cave into play here, does a caption show the photographers meaning and foregoes the viewers all-important interpretation.

I briefly explored this through Willie Doherty’s works writing the following here and below. I’d appreciate any thoughts.

“That is where I feel photography essays are made up of two important elements, possibly three if typography is a feature. One, the photo, two, the caption and three, the typography. Like two cogs, each is redundant without the other. The caption can still tell a story but the photo is needed to provide the emotion, or the double meanings, the story between the lines. Yet as I write this I feel constricted, two paths appear, do you need the caption or do we like to create our own stories? On one hand, with the caption, we are offered some more insight, a clue in a crime scene and we can make of it what we will. I read a review of Willie Doherty’s work and realised it was about the conflict of Ireland. Exploring the images is like being at a crime scene and finding several clues which will, in turn, lead you to deeper revelations.

Without the historical knowledge of the bombings of the bridge (of Doherty’s work), the viewer may interpret the image with their own imagery. They may relate the running to a situation in their own lives, running away from pain or fear…or running to a new future. The figure runs endlessly trapped in an infinite loop, someone who felt trapped in their lives would transpose their body into that of the figure so they were watching their own story playing out. Their feelings towards it may have nothing to do with the bombing of the bridge and the story Doherty is telling.

“Historically the only means of traversing the city’s two sides, the bridge was frequently bombed as a result of its strategic significance. A deceptively simple set-up, the camera catches the figure from the front as well as from the back in this double projection; even a cursory understanding of the site complicates the narrative”

Yet which is the strongest? Without the caption, a photo can seem like staring through the window into someone else’s lives. The window becomes evocative of a dolls house, you see the people, you see their characters and their surroundings and you create your own truths and stories out of that. Yet we can never know for sure whether the stories we are telling are the truth and that is where the beauty is, in the ambiguous. Sometimes it doesn’t matter, sometimes the power of the photo comes from our own understanding. A piece of paper with the starting sentence which we then take as our own. The viewer is as much responsible for the final destination in the mind as the photographer.

This reminds me of Bergin’s work which I wrote about earlier here, he was asked to create the series for UK76 yet added his own words thus changing the whole meaning of the piece, thus becoming a completely new creation. Without those captions how would they have been interpreted? There would have been no double meaning as we are only shown one image. Does that mean to have a double meaning there must be two layers to the image, a caption (pushing the meaning gleaned from the image in a new direction) and the photo itself?

This is something to be included in Assignment Four, writing a critical essay on a subject of which I’ve chosen Photography and Plato’s Cave, how the viewer’s interpretation will always be different to that of the photographer.

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Posted in Assignment 3 ~ Spaces to places, Coursework

Assignment Three – Written Work and Photos

I begin with an idea and then it becomes something else – Pablo Picasso

Assignment Three has shown to me that though we may start with a plan and an idea of the result and meaning we want to convey the more you work at a project the more it has the ability to surprise you as different paths are opened up and a whole new meaning arises. I thought I was capturing people’s conversations to show an insight of the area yet what happened was showing a picture of the modern day, how much we miss, how little we talk to those we don’t know and the frantic rush of busy life which causes us to stamp over the beauty and not know because we haven’t seen it to begin with.

I wanted to create a video and wrote a song to go alongside it. I feel the pace of the keys echoes the people walking by. Please let me know what you think.

A PDF of the writen work –

Assignment Three-7

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Slideshow of the final photos.

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Posted in Assignment 3 ~ Spaces to places, Coursework, Research and Reflection

Assignment Three – handwriting

Thoughts –  The font for Assignment Three seemed sterile, it wasn’t connecting with me. There is no emotional connection, the assignment is all about people but it is too detached, drawn away from the action like mechanical figure walking on with not much emotion. Some fonts had a pleasing effect but didn’t offer the emotion I needed. I recalled my research of the project ‘Falling Sickness’ which used handwritten notes from sufferers. Also, my future plans to amend Assignment Two will be to write the poem by hand.

Snippets on a Sunny Day

With that in mind I used my apple pencil on the Ipad with the app Procreate I wrote down the Snippets by hand. Instantly I knew I didn’t need to try any more fonts. These words transformed,  they captured the emotional connection on a personal level that I was seeking. It also reflected how I captured the Snippets in the first place, scribbling them on a scrap piece of paper.

Snippets - Handwritten - ChloeHalstead

With the written work completed now I just need to write all the Snippets by hand on the photos. To continue with the journalism mode I captured the images on my iPhone as it was always on hand when I unexpectedly visited the beach.

Posted in Assignment 3 ~ Spaces to places, Coursework, Research and Reflection

Snippets – Lytham Square

Of course for a photography assignment I couldn’t present my work without actual photos (at least I don’t think I can, perhaps I could submit the words on just white paper and on the back is the photo of the area.) but I’m interested what anyone can derive from the snippets of conversation I’ve overheard without seeing the photos.

Snippets began as a personal project but when I came to Assignment Three I realised it fitted perfectly. I decided to focus on the psychogeography of several locations around Lytham/Fairhaven and in different seasons. Had I thought in advance I would have shot the other locations in the Summer but I only added the extra locations recently.

I’d appreciate any feedback on what you think about the character of the people or this area, the weather, the time of day. Whatever anyone can derive from it. If you scroll down the photos of the area with detail are there.

Lytham Square 

“Them gloves you know, like I got…”

“Snow shows”

“Yeah that’s what I were thinking”

“Ooh ooo”

“Costs keep going up but wages stay the same”

“This bloody car came tearing round the bend”

“THAT was loud!”

 

Lytham High street

Oh I mean he’s asleep
I love to see the sights but…

Yes yes…since…yes!

Do you want to look there?I’m not bothered…No I’m not bothered either, I’ve got enough stuff, I just sent loads to the charity

Yeah yeah!

Ah, no…good girl. She’s got an hour

I forgot the bread

What’s she get up to?
Hahah

For a while cause we went to St Annes

It were briiight when we first saaaw it.

Outside the Co-Op

Oh that’s my taxi

Seven seven seven

Yes who…who do you think you are!

Yeah that one, heh!

 


 

Lytham Square

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The words describe the area immediately with the use of ‘was’ instead of ‘were’ It also seems that the focus of all Snippets remains associated with the cold, “Them gloves you know, like I got…”  I must be the only Plurophile (rain lover) as the weather seems to bring out negativity and sombre subjects,”Costs keep going up but wages stay the same” Added to the bad weather, low light and moody sky there were few people. Small talk to strangers is non-existent.

Lytham High StreetIMG_9975.JPG

Though the viewer can’t hear the accent of the passers-by I can assure you it was very Lancashire with draawn out syllables in the case of “It were briiight when we first saaaw it.”

Outside Co-Op

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Despite several people passing by no-one stopped to exchange small talk with strangers, this project has highlighted the image of the current social world we live in when we talk all day to others just not verbally, only by text.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Assignment 3 ~ Spaces to places, Coursework, Research and Reflection

Imitating Georges Perec

I decided to do something similar to Georges Perec -An Attempt at Exhausting a Place in Paris (1975) I enjoyed the book greatly and I agree that it appeals most to writers, or artists as we I think are those who are most enchanted by the past time of people watching.  As there’s a school near-by and it was time for the children to be picked up I determined to write down everything I saw. I found it very addictive and the pace of my writing echoed the intervals of busy and quiet periods in the street. When only one person passed I’d go back and correct spelling mistakes or write in more detail. When it was fast my fingers were flying so fast over the keys I had to ask Mum to leap up and tell me the colour. We both found ourselves fascinated by the characters and I learnt some interesting and slightly sad facts. Of the whole street, just one person smiled and it was because they were staring curiously in through our window.

I was especially interested in the families at the beginning, in a sense they became the main character and I enjoyed watching them return laden with children and school bags. Interesting even though their situation had now changed they still kept the tense expressions. It was sad in a way. Very few people seemed to relish in the enjoyment of picking up the children and the craft projects they were showing them, instead focusing on leaving, getting to the car and continuing with the routine. Of course, I understand they are stressed and focused but the other day I sat in a cafe sketching for an hour all the people I could see. Afterwards, someone asked why everyone was so serious and sad in my pictures and I sad honestly that it was because no-one smiled. Couples faced each other their expressions blank and serious while they sipped their tea barely speaking. I wonder if they drove home and said “Oh what a lovely drink together’ It seems a sad insight into the current profile of the world. No-One Smiles Here.

My Notes 

Several minutes before school time. Everyone pointedly ignores the no parking signs on the road and fills up the road with Black SUV’s mini coopers and a van.  They also double park. Chaos will ensue later.

Man in a black puffer jacket walks by staring ahead intently twiddling his brightly coloured car keys in his hands.

A lady in a designer black puffer jacket walks by arms wrapped around herself shivering, before checking to make sure her coat is straight.

A lady trudges by in a black coat and blonde hair. Black coats are all the rage it would seem.

A serious Chinese man with greying hair walks past. No-one seems to smile.

A lady in a bobble hat

Green yellow and cream

Head down against the wind

A lady walks by with unusual attire. A long anorak one quarter is check, another part grey, it swings around her feet as she walks with her head down against the cold wind. Her bobble hat a flurry of unusual colours, green yellow and cream. Perhaps a tribute to a football club.

A family pass, their mother turns to stare in. Even though they can’t see me as I’m on the other side of the room she stares in curiously. I find it amusing, she’s reinforcing my assignment and the interest in people watching. Hundreds of people appear children. A mother stares in the lounge with a big grin. even though they can’t see me just as I’m curious about what is happening

Suddenly there are floods of people appearing with children.

A man holding a green bottle

A lady with a  bobble hat

Chinese man. I can’t see his son but I see the bright red bobble of his hat bounce along.

Children race by.

Everyone is wearing bobble hats.

Two similar looking ladies talk animatedly by their car with dramatic hand gestures

An older man in a M&S striped scarf (well it likes like my Dads)

Norwegian print bobble hat.So many people it’s hard to keep track

So many people it’s hard to keep track

Lady in the black puffer jacket is followed by a stream of kids. Before she checked how her coat was neat. Now she struggles to open the car door, weighed down by multiple school bags, music book bags craft projects and school letters.

A serious man strides by still serious his child jumping by his side.

Big brother grins as they walk along. Only the second adult to smile.

Bobble hats bobble hats everywhere.

Everyone still seems serious but the children bounce so happy

Ah. Car chaos has begun/ moving off, sudden braking, Reversing. The person can’t get out and looks irritated.

Lady in strange clothes returns. I can’t see her child.

Mini car tries to do an inconvenient three-point turn nearly reversing into our driveway. This isn’t uncommon. Most people block our driveway and even reverse in to turn around.

Girl races by in a Unicorn shaped hat cute! Breaking the flood of bobble hats

A hat minus a bobble.

Serious man in scarf leaves in his car, he’s still serious. More double parking.

More double parking.

Grandpa looks glum.

No one seems to be smiling. They’re stressed about the parking

Children go flying by like fish in a current. So small under the doorstep. All I can see is the tops of their bobble hats.

Lady and family huddled up against the wind.

Miserable lady with pink bag.

Everyone so serious clutching letters and school bags.

Cars flow out with serious faces, lady adjusts her hair as she drives.

Cars leaving.

Lady in dramatic black velvet hood walks past. Child looks eagerly at cars

Lady with wild frizzy hair and tartan dress walks by. I immediately stop writing one description so I can write about her hair.

Children in back of car playing animatedly as they drive by.

Emptiness for a moment

Sound of cars and children in distance.

Waiting

Waiting for more people to pass by

Is it over?

Bobble hat minus bobble drives by.

Lady with long black scarf walks by with child. It looks cold outside. car exhausts.

Lady with frizzy hair leaves, her hair fills the car window.

Then the street is empty and the sounds of the car fade into nothing.


A passing thought is how much of my own character was seen in my writing. Whilst George Perec wrote with a dispatched, straightforward way I feel we both struggled not to write more elaborately and descriptively and invent stories for the characters.

Posted in Assignment 3 ~ Spaces to places, Coursework

Assignment Three research –

Weeks Plan –

Read

  • A few more chapters of Psychogeography and note my findings.
  •  Rebecca Solint – Field Guide to Getting Lost.
  • Georges Perec An Attempt at Exhausting a Place in Paris (1975
  • Places of the heart – Colin Ellard
  • I bought the Travellers Day Book, there are 366 short travel or descriptive accounts taken from a wide range of prose, fiction and non-fiction.

Shoot

  • Take photos of the Playmobil house in the garden. Find a similar project.
  • Go to the seafront and capture Snippets on a wet day.

Ivan Radman, a fellow OCA student told me about the exercise in Identity and Place OCA where you had to go to one location and write everything down that happened in an hour. I read several students blogs and even though it was the normal viewings of every day I was so fascinated by them.  The boxer dog investigating a families lunch conjured up such delightful images and that’s why I feel so drawn to Assignment Three. In the Identity and Place exercise, the words describe the actions and characters of the people just as in Georges Perec – An Attempt at Exhausting a Place in Paris.  My assignment (writing down the words of people passing by on the seafront and overlaying them over a photo devoid of people) is different in the respect that I do not personally show the character of the people. I am purely an observer, or a journalist, taking those spoken words from the people and linking them together to show the psychogeography of the area. We see people every day but we know so little about them, the unknown is like a mystery that ignites our curiosity?There is an air of secretiveness to the assignment, when I’m sat there, there is a part of me questioning my motive, though entirely innocent, I feel like a spy, to the extent of being occasionally uncomfortable. Yet, that discomfort is overridden by curiosity. Perhaps when Sophie Calle stalked that poor man through the streets of Venice she was so captured by the story she felt herself to be invisible and that belief made her oblivious to the invasion of privacy and verging away from sanity.   A writer describes the people and in this assignment the people unknowingly describe themselves. In that respect, they almost become the artist.

A writer describes the people and in my assignment the people unknowingly describe themselves. In that respect, they almost become the artist. And the viewer is the detective set to figure out or invent the characters and stories. Yet even I assume a different role, I am the photographer and the journalist but I have both an advantage and disadvantage over the viewer, for I’m not a bystander of the photo, I can look at the photos and see the people in the words because I have seen them walking past me. I’ve seen what they’re wearing, I’ve seen their expressions with their words, even their pace of walking determines aspects of their character, “The human body is a powerful and versatile visual communication device.”

I can fill in the gaps with my imagination but I still have a concrete visual image in my mind.

In Places of the Heart wrote of a time when he and his father visited Stonehenge. He wrote about the awe he felt as a child, without understanding he sensed the magnitude and universal importance of the structure yet he realised his father would be looking at it with the eyes of an architecture, the measurements, not being able to strip it down to the raw emotions. And this is another reason why I chose to include only the words. To allow the viewer freedom to explore and tell their own stories.

The viewer sees only the echoes of the people and therefore cannot make the usual assumptions of them based on clothing, features, personality, the way one might judge a book by its cover. We can only glean such things from their words and I’m curious to see how it is perceived.