Looking back, reflecting, on this course I see that all the work has been very personal both in terms of my response to the notion of the document and to the genre of ‘documentary’ and so it perhaps fitting that this final assignment should also be personal.
I have reflected many times about the nature of my own work, how what I have made has felt insubstantial, and maybe how I wanted to create images that were pretty and to some extent the fact that many have found their way to walls persuaded me to that conclusion – but I had no idea what or how I would transfer to making work that I felt had some depth. Actually I am quite happy with the work that I’ve produced for this course, the work with the Gross’, the reflection with my mother in that they still have a resonance with me. My thoughts on the ‘industry’ of photo-journalism hasn’t been mitigated through study, perhaps the reverse. I suspect the pivotal point was to look at Jaar’s work in Arles and his use, by non-use, of imagery chimed very loudly with how I felt about the contract between commerce and pain, between capitalism and suffering. Bloomberg and Chanarin, perhaps Norfolk to some extent and others, are the sort of artists that have broadened and informed my initial naïve view of that world.
I started this course with a sense of excitement and that excitement has continued with me. I have explored things that I hadn’t expected to appear on my horizon, it has made me question many things about my attitudes toward a range of issues that had either lain dormant in me or were entirely new conversations. But it is to the expressly personal that I have found myself inexorably drawn, as I veer towards completion of this module I have taken some advice from my tutor to start making images that I enjoy! Well I have always enjoyed making images, but recently I have found that the images I have been making have a greater sense of me and less of a sense of replication in them. The images in assignment five are about me, by me, for me, and whilst I know that (a few) other people will regard them and reinterpret them, coloured by their own life experience, I am content with what they depict.
Listening to Jason Evans’ lecture in Westminster about ‘Nice’ pictures was another turning point, it was when I realized that I could place myself into the frame and not be overly concerned about how ‘deep’ the narrative might be. With assignment five I have tried to deliver imagery that provides a visual engagement, much as Tom Hunter said in his talk about how he uses ‘beauty’ to engage in order to provide the means by which the narrative might be delivered into a conversation with the viewer. I have used the text to try and ‘steer’ the viewer to consider what the combination of text and imagery might mean, and I hope/expect that the viewer might reinterpret using their own life experiences – ‘death of an author’ maybe – but intentionally so. I am also aware that I have contrived fictions from these images, much as Fontcuberta has used a much more radical fictive set of constructions in his Flora and Fauna to position them as factual, I wonder whether these images, anchored with text, will provide ‘new’ fictions and ask questions regarding the viewers history.