I had a great Skype session with my tutor, Les. My assignment was recieved very well and the majority was positive with the emotions and meanings evoked and also the ambiguity of the meanings relying on the viewer to interpret, He described some images such as the man in the smoke as ‘really quite disturbing’ bringing dark connotations into the mix of terrible people, evil lurking in the darkness and the vulnerability of a young woman in the dark woods coming across this man. Les also described the accompanying poem, that I wrote, as having the same value as the photos which I was very pleased about. We discussed how one walk could bring to light such stories. He also liked the fact that the images were all taken on the same day as the light was consistent throughout which reinforced the idea of a journey.
There were several main points we discussed.
We discussed the effect of typography in a photographic essay, or more the effect of unsuitable fonts. When I added the poem I used a generic font focusing more on the words and the effect of the reverse out writing rather than concentrating on the shapes and the effect the typography offered. Les described it as a viewer, how one would look at the photos, be moved or drawn in, then the poem, reading the words; if the typography is unsuitable then another element takes the viewers attention, the shape of the words, which may be beautiful to study yet takes away the value from the images. I have written a piece of literature and Les said he wanted it like a book, like literature. There shouldn’t be any half way point such as italics to replicate handwriting. If it’s to be handwriting it should be actual handwriting and vice versa.
He showed me examples from his bookcase where the photos had been captioned in his wife’s handwriting compared to one which had a standard comic sans font which drew away from the images.
I will experiment with how the text influences the photos by using a font such as Baskerville and also with my own handwriting. Though I’m not sure how I can use the reverse out with such a method.
Les discovered a small figure in the distance in a pale blue shirt who immediately detracted from the images. He said, “Once I’ve noticed him, he’s all I see and I really want to live in this thing, read your words and live in that space.” Though not usually advocated by Les we decided to clone the blue man out as he acted as the punctum, yet not in the manner intended or desired.
The man in the smoke
Les described the image as ‘disturbing’ and spoke of the dark connoations the image evoked in him. “We know they (people) exist as you are there but it makes it more of a shock that he is looking directly back at you.” In his own work there was such an image of a man looking directly at the camera and it was argued he should remove the image as it detracted’ We had a long discussion about the pros and cons of removing him but the image evoked such feelings that he recommended keeping it. I also felt it was the powerful image in the set as it’s so unexpected this man in the forest and the threat or help he may offer the protagonist and in that respect, the viewer. The answers are dispersed in ambiguity which is where the power of the series lies. Heliked that the photos would generate one response which was swiftly changed by the words so he wasn’t sure if it was a positive journey or something dark.
He also wrote of the final part of the poem before you see the man, the words ‘danger, family, bright, die, scared, fear’ and how they contribute to the shock as you turn the page and see the man staring at you. Almost like a jump scene in a horror movie. Interesting as I likened the winding path to the scene in the Shining where the viewer is taken around the long corners and never ending corridors. ‘implied threat…say you’re not there but it says your name under it, well suddenly there’s a man in the forest and the author is a women, there is an implied threat. But suddenly your words
The exit sign
Les wondered if the exit sign was too ‘heavy handed’ a little too symbolic to those who haven’t done the research
The Danger sign
Drawing on our dicussions of typography, was the Danger sign too obvious, did it cut the ambiguity with it’s direct reference to something dangerous instead of it being clouded in mystery?
I will think about the inclusion of these signs though I would need another element that acted as punctum.
Overall it was a great discussion, I feel I have completed the assignment to the best of my ability and now will continue with the next part and research Typography. For the next assignment we are trying a different approach and instead of sending Les the completed assignment I will treat it as though in a physical University where you would go in ever week and work on the imaes. I will send him some photos, outline some ideas and then discuss that in depth.