Thoughts on feedback to assignment three

I am very happy with the outcome and my tutor’s comments. The reflections provided on the individual photographs and how they work, both as a narrative and individually, I tend to agree with. The different aesthetics I had tried, all linked to the assignment were very beneficial to me in the way they were considered and commented on by my tutor. And one lesson in particular I think I have learnt and that is to apply the notion of time to the assignment. I instinctively felt that my narrative structure had some validity to it, what I think I failed to do – something I will comment on later – is that I allowed myself to become a trifle too involved in the image, after all it was a personal discourse that I overlaid into the narrative, which I think is perfectly valid, but not I think necessary or at least well explained for this assignment.

My tutor has mentioned ‘OPEN text’ a few times in relation to my work, and by this I understand to mean not providing all the information, allowing a discourse to evolve between spectator and image (or series of images). I think that by providing two sets of images both with and without a secondary narrative device allowed that thought to appear when it might not have done otherwise. But that is conjecture and I do think that, perhaps better to say, know that, there was obviously the potential for two distinct narrative devices being played with one set of images whilst the other only really offered one. Some lessons learned.

I have been using my personal archive a lot recently and I think that may be coming to an end, there are a lot of things that I want to think about with my art and for that purpose I think I will leave one aspect of my person out of the  narrative loop. My tutor reflects that other artists who use archives use them to investigate their own vision and pay less heed to the personal content of the image, rather letting the image portray a sense of narrative within a wider context. I am aware that I have strayed into an area that mixes narratives – which I think is ok in itself, but maybe not in a visual way until I have better understood both what it is I want to say and become a trifle more detached from what the images mean to me??

The relatively recent excursion into non-fiction for me is starting to have it’s toll and more and more I am considering re-entering into the fictive world as a means to investigate my thoughts. A while ago I started to investigate, with words, something that I wanted develop and express. It is shelved at the moment, though not the narrative context which I know I shall return to either before the end of this set of studies or after I complete this degree pathway.


10 thoughts on “Thoughts on feedback to assignment three

  1. John – I’ve read it and enjoyed it; thanks for sharing. There are, you won’t be surprised to hear, many notions in there to which I can relate. You are wondering whether it is ‘Open Text’ and/or whether we can detect what you want to explore. I can imagine several directions that the narrative might take and I can sense a number of themes that you might be wanting to explore, such as change, ageing, long-term relationships, communications etc. I suppose that to try and “… detect what it might be about …” could then become a bit of a guessing game, certainly at this stage in what could be a lengthy piece; or it might be that I, the reader, identify a theme that most interests me; or I might be influenced if I know of things that are important to you. As with images, when you ‘put it out there’ its interpretation is in the hands of the reader. One theme that is not in my short list above, but which I feel emerging from the text, is that of gender and gender roles; perhaps, given your recent studies on feminism, that is where you want to go with it? Hope I’ll have the chance to read the rest of it, one day.

    • Thanks for your interest Stan. I know I prefaced this with a statement ‘is this OPEN text”? and therefore as a reader you were always going to looking. What I hope is that I would lead the reader – much as I want to with photography to a metaphysical place – I sort of want to provide the viewer with some things to consider along the way, not all of which will be directly linked to the what it is I want to discuss and by no means ‘red herrings’, but to illuminate and colour the ‘story’ I suppose. The actual subject still resonates strongly and I may yet continue it through words and images.

  2. Cleverly written John. To me it manages to be OPEN whilst appearing CLOSED. The comfort and safety of habitual communication that stays the same, with no apparent room for growth. Affection without passion. Expectations of how this wife should be. A scenario of certain types of people with certain types of view. A life built on sameness rather than surprise. Yet…. there’s something else lurking under the surface; some kind of secret, with a destination that might surprise the reader. I enjoyed it and hope to read more.

    I was also imagining this as a play.

    • Perhaps ‘that we are all unique, even if seemingly mundane and ordinary’? Yes, I don’t see any of the protagonists as being anything special, though the underlying narrative that you seem to detect is what I want to discuss, so maybe not that open then 🙂 ?
      Thanks for reading.

      • A good future discussion point might be “Can writing be more ‘open’ than images ?” We all have our individual writing styles and use of vocabulary and there are bound to be a few clues along the way I should think. I’ve very rarely been surprised by the end of a book – in fact I can only think of one (well the story, but I can’t remember the title!).

      • Interesting thought Catherine. I remember being disappointed by an ending once, before I had even read the novel – Great Expectations! I read the preface and I suppose the writer of that (can’t remember who) must have thought that everyone knew the ending, so he explained it and also discussed the original ending that Dickens was talked out of publishing – apparently everyone wanted Pip and Estelle to be happy ever after, which isn’t exactly how CD had it originally….

  3. I kept imagining this as an Alan Bennett ‘Talking Heads’ piece – I could almost hear Patricia Routledge telling the story. A tale of comfort and familiarity which left me with an increasing feeling that there was a deep, dark secret to be revealed. I got a strong feeling, but with no evidence, that the destination was as simple as just going home and that this trip had an air of finally to it. Maybe the final destination would be something tragic (medical?) that would shake the predictability to its core?
    Alternatively, you have been listening to Mrs. B and me on a cross channel ferry of course!

    • That’s very interesting Dave as I directed ‘A Lady of Letters’ (not with Patricia Routledge though) some time ago – and I do like Bennett’s style (I’m also hoping that his style isn’t being mimicked here). Interesting thought on narrative though. Thanks for reading.

  4. I enjoyed it too John, I share the same reading as Catherine.

    “She could be trusted. Her views would never surprise him. She was an island in a sea of ever changing currents.” Just this phrase tells you a lot about the man, and what he expects from his wife and how surprised he would be if he was proven wrong – it makes you want to know the woman better.

    I felt like an anxiety from the man about how to occupy his time on the ferry, that I read as a possible images of his anxiety about how to occupy your life-time…

    I am looking forward to read the end of the chapter now!

  5. Thanks for ready Stephanie. Actually I haven’t decided where the narrative will go precisely, though there is a single them that I will work on. I am encouraged that with some free time (!) I will continue.

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